You’re on your way to work, running late when all of a sudden the “Check Engine” light illuminates on your dash panel. Should you drive straight to your auto repair shop or can you go on to work? Do you need to pull over and call a tow truck? First of all, don’t panic! There are several reasons the check engine light may be triggered.
What causes the check engine light to come on while you’re driving? The first thing to check is your gas cap. If it is loose, cracked, or faulty, it allows fuel to evaporate, thus triggering your check engine light. As soon as it’s safe to do so, pull off the road and make sure your gas cap is tight. If this was the trigger, your check engine light should go off within 10 or 20 miles after you start driving again.
Secondly, triggers could be from a damaged vacuum hose, ignition coil(s), a failing catalytic converter, or simply worn-out spark plugs. At the earliest time possible, take your car to a certified mechanic and ask for a diagnostic test. Most modern cars have an onboard diagnostic system that provides a code identifying the specific issue at hand. This test will help your mechanic pinpoint the problem and make sure the proper engine repair is performed quickly. The important concern is to make sure that long-term damage isn’t taking place in your engine and that you aren’t compromising the safety of your vehicle.
Fortunately, a check engine light rarely signals anything disastrous. It is generally okay to keep driving for a few more miles or days, but it would be wise to get your car into your auto shop as soon as possible to avoid a potential costly engine repair.
Wondering what causes the check engine light to come on? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at theWrench, Ltd. Car Care Center for information about engine repair and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Silverdale, WA, and the surrounding area.