What does Check Engine Light Mean?

Gone are the days when your car was a luxury only. It almost seems impossible to not have a car, which also stands for mobility, convenience, and independence. Having a car in solid working condition saves you money on mileage as well as costly repairs. We all like to see a green light, but don’t in any way ignore the amber and red lights on the dashboard of your car, especially if it’s the engine warning light.

Engine Warning Light: Don’t Ignore

When you get to your car and turn on the key, you definitely don’t want to see warning lights, but there are occasions that you would see them. You need to get to where you are heading, but the worst thing you can do is to ignore them.

The check engine is a warning that you don’t want to see and your mind wanders in many directions as to what is the problem and how much it is going to set you back in terms of money. It could be a minor or serious problem, but the bottom line is you need to have it checked. Depending on the age of the car, you could see this more often and some warnings can be put on the back burner, but not forgotten.
Check Engine Light

What does the warning mean?

The computer in your car runs a diagnostic routine when you turn the key. It goes through a series of tests and checks factory preset components. One or more problems could be the cause of the warning indicator. These warnings may have a code and you could decipher it using the car manual. It could be a flashing or steady light and the color may help you in identifying the seriousness.

You can always take your car to the garage and have the mechanics look into it for you by paying a nominal charge, and then follow it through. Depending on the weather conditions of where you are, it could also be humidity causing some contacts not working properly, but do not give yourself the benefit of the doubt if the warning does not go away.

What You should Look for Under the Hood

Run your eyes over what you see under the hood. Look for anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you cannot figure out the issue with the basic checks of a loose cap, broken wires or telltale oil marks for a leak, it needs more looking into. If you don’t see anything out of the ordinary and you feel confident start the engine with the hood open, look for any visual pointers like something rattling which needs to be fixed back in place.

Why you need to resolve the Check Engine Light

You could be traveling on a highway and can have an engine cut out in the middle lane or you could be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no ready help available. The engine could be overheating which would cause more damage than what is already present.

There is also the possibility of having an emission check to pass your car, which would not happen if everything were not okay on the dashboard. If your car is old and still running, you could always tend to ignore the warning indicator and get the maximum out of the car until you service it, but you could be putting yourself and the occupants in danger.

You could have a way of turning off the warning, which could have been a temporary one, but if it does come on again, you should know it has to be checked by a mechanic and the sooner the better. This is more important if you are a long distance commuter, and with little or no possibility of breakdown service.

DIY Option

For those who are more mechanically inclined, some cars can be checked with a code reader to find out what is wrong, but that too could prove to be a bit tricky. It could give you indications of the problem, but not necessarily how to resolve them. Then again, it could also be something that is closest to what the problem could be, but not the actual reason.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that, this warning is for a valid reason, be it a simple or complex one. Don’t panic, but don’t delay in having it resolved. You could end up saving more money having it looked into sooner rather than later and saving yourself from potential danger too.

It would be a marvelous idea to just have your car serviced regularly for your safety and the safety of your car. It is important to visit a cogent, proven, and reliable car repair workshop to get the problem fixed. It is a better option than DIY if you are not familiar with self-maintenance. Take your car to the car shop. Do not drive around with a suspect car. If you are driving around with a damaged car, you are only making the situation worse.