What Does The Check Engine Light Actually Mean?


Remember watching movies or tv shows where the character keeps ignoring the “check engine” light? They thought it wasn’t a big deal! But then it was a big issue because they didn’t take care of it right away. In this article we’ll explain what the engine light actually means! We’ll also talk about the different states of the engine light and problems that your vehicle may experience.

The check engine light is part of the onboard diagnostics system known as the OBD. The OBD is a car’s self-diagnostic, which results in the engine light to turn itself on when it finds a problem in the electric-control system. The OBD also saves a trouble code in it’s memory that will pinpoint the problem. The trouble code will help us understand the source of your car’s trouble! But before the light turns on, the OBD will wait to see if it can fix itself first.

The light has three different states, the state of the engine light will indicate if your vehicle is having an urgent matter.

OFF Engine Light – Nothing To Worry About

When your engine light is off, normally you have nothing to worry about. Most internal problems have to fail twice in a row for the engine light to turn on.

ON Engine Light (yellow or orange colour) – Make An Appointment

If the engine light turns on and looks yellow or orange in colour, you generally have a problem with the system in your engine or transmission. It’s important to make an appointment at this point and not let the issue prolong. Like most issues, the longer you wait, the worse it will get. To save yourself some trouble and money, make an appointment as soon as possible!

Flashing Light (blinking or red light) – STOP Driving, Tow Your Car And Make An Appointment

If your engine light turns on and is blinking or red in colour, you have to stop driving. Red or flashing light means you have a serious problem, we recommend towing your car to a reputable mechanic. The red light means your vehicle failed to ignite the fuel correctly or even at all, this issue will end up causing damage to the emission system. It is as expensive as it sounds! Again, the sooner you take care of the problem, the better!

What is the cause?

The cause that will trigger the engine light is a list of events, they vary depending on the driver. Here are the most common ones:

Loose gas cap
Defective fuel injector
Wet engine
Defective oxygen sensors

Most of us will tend to panic or completely ignore the light. None of the two are a good option in this situation. Stay calm, the engine light is build to alert you of the issues that appeared. The light suggests you take care of the minor or major issue that your vehicle has as soon as possible. Drive or tow your car over to a trusted mechanic and the problem will be over before you know it!

The Centre for All Your Car Needs

Peter’s Auto is the centre for all your car needs with over 20 years of experience in repairing a variety of cars along with up to date mechanics and equipment. Our knowledgeable and helpful staff will take care of all your auto service and repair needs.

Our shop is located in Kitchener, ON. We proudly serve the following areas: Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.

Click Here to Schedule an Appointment for your next service or repair today! You can also contact us by phone at (519) 578-4533 or email: info@petersauto.ca

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