Top Reasons Why Your Engine Light Is On
You’re driving down the highway when you notice it – your engine light is on. While this could have a simple, easy-to-fix cause, like your gas cap not being secured properly after your last trip to the pump, it could also be an indicator of a more serious problem. Here’s a closer look at some of the possible reasons the “check engine” light is on and how to react accordingly.
Understanding the Engine Light on Your Dashboard
Your car is a lot of things: a trusted support system, a road-trip partner, and a home away from home. It is also a computer that continuously monitors signals from different parts of the vehicle. When it detects something wrong, it lets you know by keeping the engine light turned on.
The automotive technicians on our dedicated team can get more detailed information on the problem from the system’s computer, which can guide us during repairs. However, here are some of the most common reasons the light appears:
- Your oxygen sensor is picking up exhaust issues, including excess emissions, or your oxygen sensor itself is faulty.
- There is a problem with your spark plugs or ignition coils, which is not allowing the engine to fire correctly.
- You may have loose or damaged wiring.
- Your transmission is faulty, whether due to low fluid levels, worn components, or overheating. This issue should also cause your transmission symbol on the dashboard to illuminate. While manual vs. automatic transmission systems have their differences, you’re likely to notice problems shifting gears if you have low transmission fluid, for example.
- Your cooling system helps prevent your engine from overheating. There could be a leak or another issue with it, resulting in high engine temperatures. Your cabin’s temperature might also become noticeably less comfortable.
- You might be low on engine fluid. This crucial fluid also helps prevent engine overheating. It lubricates moving parts within the system to reduce friction, which helps extend the engine’s life, and moves sludge toward the oil filter so that it doesn’t contaminate the system. Without it, your engine could reach a premature end.
How Important Is It To React Immediately When the Engine Light Is On?
If your check engine light turned on in the middle of your morning commute, take a moment to assess the situation. Is your car making any strange noises? Is it producing any odd smells or dirty emissions? Is it vibrating unnaturally? If everything seems to be all right, it’s usually safe to carry on to your destination, where you can make a more thorough inspection.
First, check if the gas cap is on tight. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, take a look at your fluids. Is your engine fluid low? Is it dark and gritty? What about your transmission fluid? Are there puddles of coolant forming beneath your car? Your various car fluids are crucial to your car’s health. If they are low or old, it can result in problems ranging from slow stopping speeds to complete engine failure. Therefore, it’s important to schedule an appointment to get them topped up ASAP.
Your dashboard can also give you other clues about what is wrong. Are any of the other lights illuminated? For example, cars often have a “low oil pressure” light in addition to the check engine light that will come on when your engine oil level isn’t sufficient. The transmission light may come on if that is ultimately the culprit.
If your “check engine” light is flashing, the computer thinks it is a very serious issue. You should consider having your car towed to our location instead of driving it.
Trust Us for All Your Automotive Needs
If you’re concerned about why your check engine light keeps coming on, let us investigate. We can tell you how to interpret various car dashboard lights and help resolve the issues causing them so that you can feel fully confident driving your family around or navigating that cross-country road trip.
Thinking about switching rides? We can give you used car buying tips and suggestions for what to look out for so that you can make an informed decision. Every member of our team strives to make sure your trust is earned and that your needs and time are respected. Visit us or contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common reason for the check engine light?
There could be several reasons the check engine light is on, ranging from a loose gas cap to low engine oil to a problem with your transmission. All of these are fairly common issues. Resecure your gas cap when you can to see if that is the problem. If it is, you can easily carry on your way. Otherwise, visit our service department for assistance.
Can you drive the car with the engine light on?
Yes, you can usually drive your car with the “check engine” light so long as it is not demonstrating other immediate signs of danger. However, if it’s making obvious noises, producing odd smells, or emitting smoke, you should pull over and contact professionals for further instructions. Even if your car seems to be running fine, you should schedule an appointment to have your vehicle looked at ASAP.
Will the check engine light go off by itself?
If the problem was a loose gas cap and you secure it correctly, the light should turn off since the issue is resolved. However, if your check engine light keeps coming on repeatedly over several days, that indicates a larger issue, such as worn-out spark plugs, a malfunctioning ignition coil, or a torn vacuum hose. Schedule an appointment with our team to stop the problem from worsening.
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