What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

What Does the Check Engine Light Mean

Have you ever been driving and suddenly the check engine light comes on? It's a moment of panic for many motorists, as it could mean a variety of different things. But what does the check engine light actually mean? And what should you do when the warning light comes on?

The check engine light is part of the vehicle's onboard diagnostics system (OBD). When it detects a problem with the engine or emissions system, the check engine light will illuminate. It's vital for people to take the check engine light seriously, as it could indicate a serious issue with their vehicle. Ignoring it could lead to further damage or expensive repairs down the line.

So, what should you do when the check engine light comes on? The first step is to try and determine the severity of the issue. If the light is steady, it could indicate a minor issue that doesn't require immediate attention. However, if the light is flashing or blinking, it's a sign that something more serious is happening, and you should pull over and turn off the engine.

The next step is to use an OBD scanner to read the codes associated with the check engine light. Many auto parts stores offer free OBD scanning services, or you can purchase your own OBD scanner. The codes will give you a better idea of what's causing the check engine light to come on.

Common reasons for the check engine light to come on include the following:

  • Loose gas cap
  • Malfunctioning oxygen sensor
  • Failing catalytic converter
  • Misfiring engine
  • ...or other.

It's important to familiarize yourself with your vehicle's warning lights and understand what they mean to ensure the safety and longevity of your vehicle.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes and tune-ups, can also help prevent the check engine light from coming on, to begin with. The check engine light is a warning sign that shouldn't be ignored. If it comes on your dash, determine the severity of the issue using an OBD scanner and have the issue corrected as soon as possible. At Village Transmission & Auto Clinic Care, we perform check engine light diagnostics and repairs. We welcome you to our auto repair shop today!


23901 84th Ave W. Edmonds, WA 98026 (425) 778-0194
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