What to Do When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

The check engine light is something that many car owners tend to ignore. While a check engine light indicates that there’s a problem with your vehicle, it may or may not be an urgent one. Check engine lights come on for a variety of reasons, and in most cases, you will need to have your vehicle looked at by a mechanic to diagnose the problem.

If your check engine light is on, however, you can take a couple of steps before heading over to the mechanic to ensure that it isn’t a small problem. You can also take a look at our 10 signs of transmission problems post to help you better diagnose what’s going on under the hood.

Check Your Gas Cap

Something as simple as a loose gas cap can cause the check engine light to illuminate. When a gas cap is missing or loose, it interferes with the pressure inside of your gas tank. Before you head to a mechanic, check to make sure that your gas cap is on and tightened. It may take a week for the check engine light to go off if this is what is causing the issue, but if the cap seemed to be loose, give your car a little time.

Have Your Vehicle Checked Out

If the check engine light comes on and you begin noticing problems with your vehicle’s performance, head to a repair shop right away. The vehicle may need a simple repair, or it may be something more serious, like transmission repair. In either case, a mechanic will have a code reader that can determine what the problem is and why the light came on.

Check under the Hood

Take a look under the hood to see if there are any frayed wires or any hoses leaking. Spark plug wires that are worn may cause the spark plugs to misfire and trigger the check engine light. If your car is jolting while accelerating, this may be the cause. If any wires or hoses are in bad shape, have them replaced as soon as possible. A faulty mass airflow sensor may also be triggering the light.

Check Engine Light Experts

Just because your check engine light may not indicate an urgent problem, it does not mean that you should ignore it. The light is there to serve as warning that something is not working right under the hood, so the best thing to do is see an expert. Fixing the problem early on can save you from having to make costly repairs down the road.