Your vehicle is equipped with a series of dashboard warning lights that are controlled by the onboard computer. When something goes wrong, the computer will turn on the associated light. For example, if your brake pads are too low and need to be replaced, the computer will turn on the brake light. What does it mean, however, when the check engine light comes on? What should you do? Checkpoint Motors suggests you do the following to make sure you don’t end up in a bad situation.
Stop Driving Your Automobile
The check engine light covers problems that don’t apply to the other dashboard warning lights and gauges. As such, what’s going wrong is usually in the combustion, electrical, exhaust, ignition, or transmission systems. Any of these things could turn dangerous fast, which is why we recommend you stop driving your vehicle as soon as possible or head straight to the auto service shop.
For example, let’s assume for the moment that the check engine light came on because your exhaust system has a problem and part of that problem is with the catalytic converter. Your vehicle’s catalytic converter turns carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Imagine that the converter is malfunctioning and cannot do that and you end up with odorless carbon monoxide in your cabin. Yikes!
It’s best to find a safe place to park your automobile and shut it down. Check your gas cap to make sure it is on tight and sealed. If it isn’t, tighten it and then turn on your car, truck, CUV, or SUV to see if that turns off the check engine light. If it does, that was the problem. If it doesn’t, call for a tow truck to tow you an auto service shop for a diagnostic check, as these checks identify why the computer turned on the check engine light.
Check Engine Light Causes
Aside from the catalytic converter failing, the oxygen sensor in the exhaust system can also make the check engine light come on. You might also have a problem with your air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber or the mass airflow sensor could be dead. Your spark plugs could also be worn or misfiring. If you have an electrical problem, voltage surges could be the culprit.