Do You Know What Makes the “Check Engine” Light Come on?

You’re on your way to work and you see the Check Engine light illuminate on your dash. You don’t have time to stop at your auto shop. However, remember that it’s important 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. This little yellow warning light can mean various things, from a loose gas cap to a more serious misfiring engine. It also services as a warning that your vehicle is getting poor fuel economy and emitting toxic fumes into the atmosphere more than approved limits.

So, you may be asking, “What makes the “Check Engine” light come one and should I be worried?” The “Check Engine” light works like this–when the electronic-control system finds a problem it cannot adjust, the vehicle’s computer turns on a yellow indicator light and stores a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in its memory. This stored DTC helps your mechanic pinpoint the source of a potential problem. It may indicate a malfunctioning sensor, or it could be more serious, such as low oil pressure.

If the “Check Engine” light illuminates, do the following:

  • First, reduce speed and come to a stop.
  • Second, tighten the gas cap. If it’s loose or cracked, have it replaced. Fuel vapors leak out and can throw the whole fuel system off, reducing gas mileage and increasing toxic emissions.
  • Third, lighten the load.
  • Last, but not least, get to an auto shop as soon as possible for a diagnostic test.

Don’t worry when you see the “Check Engine” light. Just remember to pay attention to it as it could mean that the components in your engine are being damaged, resulting in a potentially costly engine repair.

Do you know what makes the “Check Engine” light come on? Contact our ASE Certified technicians at theWrench, Ltd. Car Care Center today for more information about engine service and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in Silverdale, WA, and the surrounding area.