What to Do When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Posted on: 24 January 2024

Seeing the check engine light pop up on the dashboard of your car can be a frightening experience. The light could signal anything from a minor issue to a major vehicle malfunction. It may seem like something you can ignore, but leaving it unchecked can cause lasting damage to your car. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your car is functioning correctly and that you don't break the bank when addressing the problem. 

Don't Panic

The first step to take when you see the check engine light come on in your car is to not panic. This light is an indicator that something may be wrong in the vehicle, but it does not necessarily indicate a dire emergency. Remember always to stay calm, stay focused, and stay safe on the road.

Check for Simple Fixes

The second thing to do is to check for simple fixes. Sometimes, a loose gas cap can cause the check engine light to turn on. If this is the case, you can check the gas cap, tighten it, and see if the light goes off. Other fixes may include replacing a dirty air filter, cleaning the spark plugs, or adjusting the battery terminals.

Get a Diagnostic Check

If the simple fixes do not solve the problem, the third step is to take your car for a diagnostic check. You can take your vehicle to an auto parts store, mechanic, or dealership to have a diagnostic check done. This check will cost you nothing, and the mechanic will use an OBD scanner to check the car's computer system for codes that may help identify the issue.

Address the Problem

Once the problem is identified, the fourth step is to address it. Depending on the severity of the problem, this could be a simple or complicated process. For instance, you may only need to replace a faulty sensor, or you may need to replace the entire engine if the problem is severe enough. Always consult with a professional auto mechanic before making any repairs.

Avoid Future Check Engine Issues

The fifth step is to learn ways to avoid future check engine light issues. This involves regular car maintenance which includes oil changes, air filter cleanings, and spark plug replacements. Keep in mind that cars have a set lifespan, so you may need to replace the vehicle entirely after a certain period.

It is always better to address check engine light issues immediately to avoid costly repairs and potential hazards on the road. By following the steps outlined above, you will be able to diagnose the problem and get it fixed before the issue gets worse. Remember to always stay safe on the road, and consult with a professional auto mechanic if you are unsure of how to proceed.

If your check engine light comes on, reach out to a local auto shop to learn more.