Check Engine Light: What To Do When It Turns On?
A car’s dashboard counts with a wide variety of precautionary icons and lights, which warn drivers in case something is functioning mechanically wrong in the vehicle. In some cases, lack of care and maintenance to a vehicle can cause so many warning lights to turn on in the dashboard, that to some, it might resemble a Christmas tree. Although every warning light has different levels of severity, if the “check engine” light turns on specifically, it’s crucial to give it the proper attention, instead of ignoring it. So, what does the “check engine” light mean, and what should you do if it turns on in your car’s dashboard?
Why does the Check Engine light turn on?
The exact root of the problem can have a plethora of reasons. In the latest 2017 Vehicle Health Index study, (conducted by CarMD), a list of the top reasons why check “engine lights” turn on was published. Below are the top causes listed:
- Faulty Oxygen Sensor
- Catalytic Converter
- Ignition Coil and Spark Plugs
- Loose Fuel Cap
- Mass Air Flow Sensor
Steps you should take
Sometimes, the cause of the problem has to simply do with a loose fuel cap. Try tightening it, and if in reality, that is truly the root of the cause, the light should turn off after driving the car multiple times. On the other hand, sometimes the fuel cap isn’t the cause of the problem, which is why the next step is important.
If you happen to notice warning signs of low oil pressure or overheating on car’s dashboard, you’ll have to make your safety a priority by finding a space to park your vehicle and turn the motor off.
In the event that the light on your dashboard is blinking repeatedly, or if you feel like your vehicle isn’t functioning normally, the best option is to try to lighten the tension on the motor. If you’re driving, this can be done by slowing your speed, and if you’re hauling some type of cargo, it’s best to stop hauling it. Afterwards, reach out to an auto mechanic to inspect the vehicle for you.
To investigate the root of the malfunction yourself, you could purchase a code scanner, which reads the code on the vehicle’s computer, and can help you diagnose the issue. Otherwise, many auto part stores offer code scanning services with their own tools. It’s all up to your personal preference, and on your experience level. If in fact, the problem is severe, chances are they’ll refer you to a qualified auto mechanic.
Keep this precaution in mind
Many code scanners on the market also have the ability to reset, or turn off your “check engine” light. However, just because the light turns off temporarily, doesn't mean the issue is gone. Additionally, some drivers can end up being lied to, because auto mechanics can simply turn that light off, and claim that the vehicle was repaired.
Never ignore the “check engine” light
Edmunds.com reports that at least 10% of the vehicles on the road are being driven with a “check engine” light on. Ignoring the light in fear of expensive repairs can lead to even bigger and expensive problems down the road.
Make sure to have a reliable group of people at your service when driving your vehicle. Call an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get an online quote today.
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