What Does a Check Engine Light Really Mean?

A stock photo of a check engine light on a gauge cluster.

Why is Your Check Engine Light On? 

A check engine icon is available mainly on the dashboard or the driver information system of your vehicle. The check engine light doesn’t always pop up to trigger a serious warning like damaged oxygen sensors; in fact, it can appear because of simpler issues like oil deposits and debris. Some common reasons for a blinking check engine light may include:

  • Loose gas cap
  • Leaking engine coolant
  • Engine detonation 
  • Failing oil pump
  • Ignition system problems
  • Poor fuel and air compression

In most cases, the malfunction indicator lamp (the technical name for a check engine light) alerts users to replace or repair some engine parts, such as the thermostat, spark plugs and mass airflow sensor. 

READ MORE: Why Shouldn’t You Skip Getting Your Car Detailed?

Determining the Real Problem 

While every engine light blinking may not indicate a serious engine problem, you can determine the issue by observing how the light blinks and its colour. If you notice a solid or continuously flashing red light on your dashboard, you should immediately contact a service technician. An orange or yellow engine light may draw your attention toward other issues, including changing the engine oil, air filters, poor fuel economy or cleaning the oil deposit.
 Though this varies depending on the vehicle and its type, in any case, ignoring a check engine light may lead to even more serious powertrain (engine or transmission equipment) problems.

3 Tips to Turn Off the Check Engine Light 

1. Try Reducing Your Speed and Load 

If you notice a continuously blinking engine light, try reducing your speed and load to lower the pressure on the engine. If you’re using a pickup truck, avoid towing a trailer to monitor the check engine light. In case the flashing persists, seek help from a mechanic. 

2. Get a Code Reader

A code reader is a simple vehicle diagnostic tool that connects with the computer system of your car to report and decipher trouble codes that trigger check engine light. It helps users diagnose or pinpoint potential mechanical problems. Code readers can’t fix the engine issue but can tell you where the problem is and its severity. 

3. Regular Maintenance 

The best way to avoid critical problems is by regularly maintaining your cars. The routine service may include replacing the engine oil, filters, and other maintenance tasks outlined in the owner’s manual. Preventive vehicle care prevents excessive wear and tear, helping avoid serious problems affecting the powertrain and other components. 

Book an appointment with our highly trained service technicians and representatives at Budds’ Chev if you’re experiencing a blinking check engine light or any other problem. We also provide routine services like oil changes to ensure your vehicle’s healthy and durable life.