Modern vehicles have high-tech computers that relay information to motorists and their vehicles. Such systems communicate information such as engine temperature, oil pressure and vehicle speed. These computers will even tell your automatic transmission when to shift. Having such complex systems helps your vehicle to function effectively. If your vehicle’s computer identifies a problem with the way your vehicle is working, then the check engine light may turn on. Your vehicle’s check engine light is a very important part of its diagnostics system. When this light turns on, it may say “check engine” or “service engine soon”. The check engine light can be a red flag that your vehicle has a serious problem.
Below, our mechanic shop in Torrance, CA explains what the check engine light could mean. You can contact us if you have any additional questions.
What the Check Engine Light Could Mean
The check engine light is also known as the International Check Engine Symbol. Whether the light is a serious problem depends on how the light is displaying. For instance, if the light is a steady orange or yellow color, then it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with an auto mechanic.
If the light turns red, then it generally means you should seek maintenance right away. A blinking light could mean there is a very serious problem with the engine that requires immediate maintenance. For example, if the engine light is blinking, it could mean unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust system.
Should I Ignore a Check Engine Light?
No. Never ignore a check engine or maintenance check light. In the end, you are only hurting yourself and your finances. Ignoring a mechanical problem will make the mechanical problem worse in the long run and therefore more expensive to repair. You should always address a check engine light as soon as possible.
Some newer vehicles have a “maintenance required” light that will turn on when it is time to replace fluids, rotate tires or perform other types of basic maintenance. If you notice a maintenance required light turn on, then you might also receive an email from your dealership reminding you to come in for basic tune ups.
Below are some additional steps you could take to address a check engine light:
- Check your vehicle’s gauge cluster. Your vehicle’s dashboard may provide some clues. For example, see if any lights indicate low oil pressure or overheating.
- Reduce your load and speed. If you have a modern vehicle, then your vehicle’s power system may divert power away from the engine to mitigate damage (sometimes referred to as limp-mode). Additionally, if the check engine light is blinking, you should consider towing your vehicle in for repairs to prevent expensive repair costs.
- Bring your vehicle in for repairs. If all else fails or you are unsure as to what is causing the issue, then you should bring in your vehicle for repairs as soon as possible. It is never a wise idea to ignore a check engine light.