Nothing is more intimidating in a vehicle than that little check engine light that seems to pop on only too often. That little light could mean thousands of dollars in repairs or it could mean nothing at all, and sometimes it feels like the only deciding factor is your reaction to it. There are a few key indicators that should help you to determine if the issue is urgent and needs attention that day, or if the light is being finicky and simply needs a reset. Whatever you do, it is best not to ignore the light as it could mean big issues.
Here are a few symptoms commonly associated with the check engine light and how you should respond.
A key indicator that the light may not be a fluke is if there are other additional lights that appear around the same time. For example, if your check engine light pops on and your engine temperature starts to spike, you have a major issue that needs immediate attention. The engine light can also sometimes come on at the same time as the oil or maintenance lights, either of which may also indicate a more serious problem.
If the check engine light comes on with fervor and blinks repeatedly, it may be time to pull over. With a blinking light, the car's computer feels that there is a major issue that requires immediate attention. Some people may ignore a solid check engine light, but a blinking light should never be ignored.
Nothing at All
If you are driving along and your check engine light comes on, is not blinking, and there are no other lights present, it may just be a fluke. Some cars ignite this light for something as small as the gas cap being open, which you may want to check if you see no other issues. Other cars simply have faulty lights that come on whenever they feel so inclined. If you see, smell, and feel no reason to check your engine, you may want to still get it checked within the month, but it will likely cost nothing to reset.
In conclusion, the check engine light can be daunting or annoying, but either way, it deserves your attention. If you do not want to deal with it on your own, you can go to almost any auto repair shop and have them run the codes to see if there is a big issue and potentially perform check engine light repair services.