Consumer Reports says it best: the check engine light is the most misunderstood (and maybe the most frustrating) indicator on your dashboard, as the light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a misfiring engine.
The check engine light is part of your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system, according to Motorist. This system monitors your vehicle’s performance; it regulates variables such as engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing. When the electronic-control system finds a problem it cannot adjust, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator—your check engine light.
When your check engine light comes on, which category of people do you fit into?
Hopefully, you don’t fall into category one. If your check engine light comes on, it will either blink or remain constant as an indicator of what the problem is. If the light is steady, the problem generally isn’t an emergency, but you should still schedule an appointment to have your car looked at. A blinking light usually indicates a severe engine misfire. If so, continuing to drive it will more than likely require an expensive repair.
Autozone compiled a list of the top five reasons your check engine light comes on. Let’s take a look:
Bottom line: when in doubt, have your vehicle checked out by your mechanic. You don’t want to continue driving in hopes that the light will disappear on its own because chances are, it won’t. Have your car looked at right away so that you don’t damage any other (expensive) components.
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