What to Do When Your Check Engine Light is On

All vehicles have many different dashboard warning lights. The newer the vehicle, the more complex and sophisticated this system. These lights are attached directly to the car's computer system, which is connected to various sensors throughout the automobile. There are warning lights for the transmission, tire pressure, oil pressure, and so on. Some denote very serious issues while others are relatively minor.

It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with your vehicle's specific dashboard lights (check your owner's manual) and what each of them means. Also, there may be variances such as the color that displays (red usually means very urgent while yellow not as much) or whether the light is flashing or not (flashing also usually means very urgent).

Check Engine Light

The light you'll want to pay special attention to is the "check engine" light. This is connected directly with key sensors on your engine. It is there to warn you that there might be a problem with your engine that you'll want to have looked at as soon as possible.

What if the Light is Flashing?

In general, if you see that your check engine light is flashing, that is bad news. You will want to get off the road as quickly as possible, turn off the car and probably call for roadside assistance. A flashing check engine light is usually the sign of imminent danger or a catastrophic failure, so it is not something you want to take lightly. Driving the vehicle further than you need can only compound the problem.

What if it is Not Flashing?

If the light stays illuminated, it's typically not as urgent. You still don't want to drive your vehicle any further than you have to and you should have it looked at by an auto repair professional as soon as possible. The light is there for a reason. There may be a problem with your engine. Diagnostic testing and a proper vehicle inspection can determine what's wrong. Hopefully, it's a minor issue that can be repaired before it leads to major engine damage, which is obviously very expensive to deal with.

What if it's on by Mistake?

Sometimes sensors fail or there are glitches in the system that can falsely activate the check engine light or other dashboard warning lights. The oxygen sensor is one of the most common culprits because it is very sensitive and most will eventually go bad over time. Even if the lights are on by mistake, you likely won't know the difference. You still won't want to take any chances. An auto repair shop can run diagnostics, make sure there are no significant problems and properly reset the sensors, computer and dashboard light.

Your Fairbanks, AK Auto Repair Experts

The point is that when the check engine light comes on for any reason, you will want to have the vehicle looked at by someone who knows what they are doing. Trust the team at Simard Automotive for all your vehicle diagnostics and automotive repairs. Call one of our two Fairbanks shops today at (855) 690-0889 (Aeronca Ave. location) or (855) 639-5001 (Gaffney Rd. location). Or, schedule your service appointment online.


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