What Does Your Check Engine Light Do?

It’s always a bit troubling when you see that engine light on in your vehicle. Like other warning indicators, a check engine light is signaling some default in the system. The problem may be minor, or it could indicate a major issue that requires immediate repair to prevent more serious effects from occurring. You simply will not know until you’ve had your vehicle assessed by a mechanic with the right automotive tools.

No matter the reason, a check engine light should never be overlooked. Getting timely repair and assistance will keep your vehicle on the road, but it may also prevent you from needing more expensive repairs. It will also spare you from dealing with a breakdown at the most inopportune time.

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Check engine lights are also called malfunction indicator lamps. These lights are triggered by a fault somewhere in the engine, which sends a message to the vehicle’s computer, which in turn triggers the light to turn on to alert the driver. There are a number of reasons why a check engine light might come on, including:

  • Bad thermostat
  • Faulty ignition coils
  • Loose gas cap
  • Malfunctioning oxygen sensors
  • Failing fuel injector

Regardless of the reason, check engine lights shouldn’t be ignored, no matter the condition of your vehicle, its age, or when it was last serviced. It is pointing to a problem, one that won’t simply go away on its own.

For deeper insight from a knowledgeable technician, you can also look for free check engine light service. Techs use advanced diagnostic tools to check your vehicle’s computer to search for error messages. From there, you’ll receive recommendations on what should be repaired.

When You Should Pull Over

A steady check engine light indicates that you must get your car to the mechanic as soon as possible. However, a flashing light is a more serious issue. Flashing lights typically indicate that the catalytic converter is in danger of being damaged.

When it comes to auto parts, catalytic converters play a crucial role in preventing your vehicle from releasing harmful, noxious gases. They take toxic exhaust gas and convert it into a less harmful pollutant to be released into the air. A flashing check engine light could mean the vehicle is in danger of overheating and that damage to the catalytic converter is imminent.

If your check engine light is blinking, pull over in a safe, secure space immediately. If you can’t park, get your car as far away from the road as possible. Shut off your vehicle and contact a local tow service. Have them tow your vehicle to a nearby auto shop, so it can be professionally assessed. Do not attempt to drive your vehicle to the auto shop, as you could experience a massive breakdown on the way.

Your car takes care of you. It gets you to work, takes your kids to school, and allows you to spend time with friends and loved ones. Because it plays such an important role in your life, you must take all repair issues seriously. The sooner you schedule a diagnostic evaluation for your check engine light, the sooner you can get behind the wheel with confidence again.

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