Seeing your check engine light on the dashboard is never a good feeling. When that indicator comes on, it means that something is going on under the hood—and it's usually not something good.
But, before you start to worry, you should investigate some of the most common causes behind your check engine light, to see if it's a simple fix:
- A loose gas cap.
This is one of the simples triggers of the check engine light but, thankfully it's pretty easy to fix. If you’re just pulling away from the gas station and suddenly notice the check engine light, find a safe spot to park and double-check that both the gas cap and door are closed. If that doesn't turn it off, you should get to your mechanic right away.
2. A faulty sensor.
Some sensors are especially sensitive to the buildup of residue and debris; others are poorly designed and tend to malfunction. If your check engine light was triggered by a sensor, a certified technician can use the code from the engine's computer to quickly identify and replace the sensors.
3. A bad spark plug
When a spark plug begins to fail, it can cause misfiring and create jolts during acceleration that trigger your check engine light. Spark plugs are easily replaceable and should be checked frequently.
A Note About Flashing Check Engine Lights
A blinking check engine light or, on some cars, a red light (instead of a yellow light) indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. If the light comes on and stays on, you should get to the mechanic as soon as possible; if the light is red or flashing, the situation might be a bit more dire. It's important to be mindful of this, especially if you're driving on a highway or stuck in dangerous weather conditions, like a winter storm, that would require speedy roadside assistance.
Whenever your check engine light comes on, it's important to get your car inspected. In some states, you can't even pass inspection or emissions testing if the light is on.
At V&F, our expert mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3-year/36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated to reflect the latest updates in modern technology.