Steps To Take When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Know the signs that your vehicle needs preventative maintenance or emergency repairs. If your check engine warning light turns on, find out what to do next. Explore the most common warning light reasons, why you should consider going to a mechanic and where to find the best wiper blade size for your vehicle.

Be Sure To Go to a Trusted Mechanic When Your Check Engine Light Turns on

A check engine light can either be an early warning or an emergency signal. If the light is flashing or solid red, pull over as soon as it is safe. A solid yellow or orange light typically means there is an issue that should be fixed but it won’t affect your commute.

Of course, there are a few reasons to stop your vehicle immediately when your check engine light on. Pull over as soon as possible if you experience one or more of these vehicle issues in addition to an illuminated warning light:

  • Grinding gears
  • Stuttering or stalling engine
  • Reduced brake performance
  • Smoke or foul odors

These signs could lead to unsafe driving conditions or additional damage if you continue to drive. Pull over and contact a towing service or attempt to diagnose the issue if it’s safe to do so.

Many of the most common check engine light issues don’t require immediate repairs. A damaged oxygen sensor, for example, may reduce the fuel economy of your vehicle, but it typically won’t cause additional engine damage. Don’t assume all check engine light issues are non-emergencies, so it’s still a good idea to have the error code read and determine the source of your vehicle’s maintenance issue.

Make Sure To Fix the Most Pressing Issues First

If you’re planning on maintaining your own vehicle, check the most pressing issues related to your check engine light first. The quickest way to diagnose the issue is to use a code reader. OBD-II code readers are available for purchase or use at your local auto parts store. These helpful devices read the error code that shows the specific area where the warning signal is coming from.

Thankfully, many of the most common causes of a check engine warning light are relatively easy to repair on your own. Here are the top five reasons this warning signal may be on in your vehicle:

  • Damaged oxygen or mass air flow sensor
  • Inefficient catalytic converter
  • Compromised spark plugs
  • Missing gas cap

Sensors can signal your check engine light if they are dirty or damaged. A dirty sensor is easy to clean with a specialized cleaning spray. Locate the sensor and remove the wiring harness. Carefully remove the sensor and gently wipe the surface with a cleaning solution.

Catalytic converters are essential for safe emissions. A clogged converter can limit or completely block your engine’s exhaust. Inspect your converter to determine whether you need a new one for your exhaust system.

Don’t let a warning light prevent you from driving your vehicle. Shop for windshield wiper blades, replacement sensors and other components to maintain your vehicle and prevent significant damage.