Jessica Hicks February 6 2023

What Does it Mean When Your Check Engine Light Comes On?

If you're a car owner, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is when your check engine light comes on. It can be both confusing and alarming, and can leave you wondering what's wrong with your car. Fortunately, there are several ways to diagnose what the problem could be—and gaining an understanding of the various indications of your check engine light can help you take action right away.

Check Engine Light Basics

The check engine light (CEL) is often one of the first indicators that something has gone wrong while driving your vehicle. It may appear when your car is first starting up or while it is in motion, and its color can range from yellow to red depending on the severity of the issue. While many people often immediately assume that their car requires emergency service when they see the light come on, it is important not to panic as this isn’t always necessary. Initially, you should try resetting and restarting your vehicle to determine if the CEL goes off—which could indicate a false alarm caused by a glitch in the system. If it doesn’t turn off after turning off your car and then restarting it again, then this could mean there is an underlying problem with your vehicle. 

In addition to identifying potential problems with your car’s performance or function, the check engine light might also illuminate due to a loose gas cap or other minor issues such as a malfunctioning oxygen sensor or catalytic converter. Therefore, if you notice any discrepancies with how it runs such as decreased fuel efficiency or power loss, then it’s best to get it looked at by a professional mechanic who will be able to accurately diagnose both major and minor issues associated with your vehicle. 

Overall, understanding what causes a check engine light to turn on will help you identify any potential problems before they become severe—and following these tips can help prolong the life of your car for years to come!

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