What Does My Check Engine Light Mean? All of Your Questions Answered

July 12th, 2016 by

Check engine lightWhen you look down at your dash, do you see that little icon lit up? Is it sending waves of panic into your brain? Check engine? What’s going on? Is it safe? Will this cost me a fortune to fix? Don’t worry! We’re here to walk you through the ominous “check engine” light, meanings, and steps to fully remedy the situation.

First things first, the check engine light is an on-dash signal that’s connected to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system (or OBD for short). The diagnostics system is essentially a system of computers that controls and monitors your car’s vitals, like engine speed, ignition timing, and transmission shifting.

The What and Why of the Check Engine Light

The check engine warning light kicks in when the OBD system finds a problem that it is unable to adjust. Fortunately, these systems are pretty smart and can provide a code that identifies the source of a problem, like a specific sensor or part that is broken. It goes a long way to helping qualified technicians fix a problem.

A check engine light can either be blinking or steady. If it’s steady, you’ve got an issue, but it isn’t urgent. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can. While the problem may not be severe, it could be causing a lower performance level, poor gas mileage, and higher levels of noxious exhaust emissions. A blinking light is another story. This signals an emergency in your engine—a misfire causes unburned fuel to dump into the car’s exhaust system. This raises temperatures in the catalytic converter to a damaging point.

How to Fix the Situation

There are a few ways to possibly remedy the situation yourself. First, check your dashboard gauges for signs of high temperature or low oil pressure. If you see these indicators, pull over and shut off the engine as soon as possible in a safe place. If not, try a few of these tricks:

  • Have the code read and problem remedied by a pro
  • Ensure your gas cap is tightened
  • Reduce your speed and engine load

Stop By for Outstanding Service

Don’t waste another second worrying about the health and safety of your car. Let the experts at Tamaroff Honda handle it! Our friendly, highly knowledgeable and qualified technicians can find solutions to help your vehicle run at its best. We work quickly, effectively, and affordably. Contact us or stop by today!

Posted in FAQ, Maintenance, Service