You might remember taking driver’s ed and memorizing the entire DMV handbook before taking your driving test, but you might not have held onto most of that information. Consider the various lights on your dashboard, for example. Some of those lights can actually point to more than one possible issue with vehicle. The check engine light is one of these multipurpose warning lights—it could be telling you there’s something wrong under the hood, or that the gas cap is loose. Ultimately, you won’t know until you troubleshoot.
With this in mind, it’s time to get to the bottom of your vehicle’s check engine light. What does this light mean? What should you do if it comes on? Let’s ask the experts at an established foreign auto repair shop in Conway, AR.
What this dashboard light means
The check engine light is often the most misunderstood indicator on your dashboard. This is because it can mean a small problem, like the gas cap is ajar, or a more serious issue, like a misfiring engine. A steady illuminated light is a sign of a non-emergency, while a blinking light usually indicates trouble in the engine. While this light coming on doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pull over and call a tow truck immediately, it does mean you should get it to your mechanic as soon as you can.
Dashboard lights are controlled by your vehicle’s computer system. The computer may find a problem in the electronic control system—one yellow warning indicator light that turns on is the check engine light, which may also light up as an engine icon. Either way, this trouble code will deploy if it identifies something like a misfiring engine or a malfunctioning sensor. Your mechanic will have diagnostic tools in their repair shop to read the code so they can determine where the problem is coming from and fix it.
What to do about this light
If the check engine light comes on, check your dashboard gauges for other illuminated warning lights, like overheating or low oil pressure. If you see either one of these, pull over and shut off the car as soon as it’s safe to do so. Here are some other steps you can take:
- Tighten the gas cap: Believe it or not, tightening your gas cap often solves the problem. Note that it may take several drives for the light to reset.
- Slow down: If you have a blinking check engine light or loss of power, reduce your speed. Towing a heavy trailer can also cause the light to come on.
- Take it to a shop: Sometimes the solution requires a professional mechanic to read the code. This points them in the right direction to fix the problem, whether it’s a simple or more complex fix.
Ignoring the check engine light could result in damage to expensive vehicle components, and can also lead to poor gas mileage. To avoid serious car trouble, bring your vehicle to a foreign auto repair shop in Conway, AR that you can trust. Riverdale Automotive is here to help—call us today to schedule an appointment!