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Check Engine Light: What Does It Mean?

27 July 2022 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

This is another dashboard warning light that is often misunderstood. What does it indicate, and what should you do if it occurs?

The check engine light on the dashboard may be quite concerning for most drivers who are not mechanically savvy.

The good news is that its illumination does not always signify that your engine is about to collapse and plunge you into financial hardship.

However, it is crucial to have your car inspected as soon as possible.

Depending on the issue, the check engine light may flash or remain illuminated.

Check-Engine Light Status: Steady

If the light remains illuminated, the problem isn’t significant, and you should be able to continue driving as long as no other warning lights illuminate. If the engine feels like it’s running smoothly and the water temperature is okay, then there is no immediate danger, just ensure that you get it looked at as soon as possible.

Because the car suspects improper fuel combustion, the check engine light will frequently appear. A defective oxygen sensor that detects unburned oxygen in the exhaust of the vehicle, spark plug difficulties, or even poor fuel cap tightening could all be to blame.

Check-Engine Light Status: Blinking

When the light is flashing, it usually indicated the presence of something more dangerous, such as the release of unburned fuel into the exhaust system, which could damage the catalytic converter. If the light flashes, drive carefully home, shut off the engine, and have it looked at as soon as possible.

Identifying the Problem

The first tool a mechanic will use to identify why the check engine light is on is an ODB2 diagnostic scanner, which connects to a port under the dashboard of any car made after 1996. This gives mechanics information about a number of aspects of the car’s performance, including issues, each with it’s own code.

The code immediately resolves the issue without the need for extensive troubleshooting. When the problem is resolved, the scanners will turn the check engine light off.

Whenever the Check Engine Light Appears

  • Look, listen, and even try to detect any potential issues.
  • Look for any warning signs of low oil pressure or overheating on your dashboard in the gauges and lights. These circumstances call for you to stop and turn off the engine as soon as you can – ensure you find a safe location to do so.
  • Try to tighten the fuel cap. You might not know if this works right away. If the cap was loose because it might take many days for the check engine light to go out.
  • Try turning off the car's battery for around ten minutes. If the issue was very momentary, this will reset the car's sensors and prevent the check engine light from turning back on.
  • Reduce the pressure on your engine by avoiding over-revving or hauling anything if the check engine light is blinking. Any major issues typically come with additional indicators.
  • Have the code scanned using your personal ODB2 scanner or at an auto accessory store, and then, if necessary, have the issue corrected. There will always be a handful who will take advantage of a driver's ignorance, so it's always good to show you know what you're talking about. A good technician would test and correct the problem and charge accordingly.

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