There is a funny scene in the hit sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory”, where two of the main characters are riding along in the car, then the passenger tells the driver their “Check Engine Light” indicator is on. The driver turns to the passenger with a dead-pan response, “Oh, don’t worry about that, it’s been on for months.” Although the scene is funny, what exactly does a check engine light mean and should it be an issue that needs to be addressed right away?
A lit-up check engine light can mean a lot of things. Maybe it’s a small issue, or it could indicate the problem is more serious. Good news is that if your vehicle is not spewing smoke, chances are that you are not in immediate danger. The check engine light is there to keep drivers aware of engine irregularities and sensory malfunctions. The vehicle’s on board computer, or engine control unit (ECU), can adjust to make sure that the engine is running efficiently. However, what is the next step when the sensor starts getting a bad reading and that “pesky” check engine light turns on?
It’s always best to have a professional auto mechanic take a look at your vehicle when your check engine light comes on. Pros will use a code reader that plugs into the vehicle and gives a diagnostic report. In some cases, there may be an easy fix and simple explanation. For example, not tightening your car’s gas cap all the way, could cause a check engine light to go on. If you haven’t seen a difference in your vehicle’s drivability, you can probably hold off on immediate service. However, don’t ignore it, as not addressing the problem will ultimately lead to your car failing an emissions systems inspection. In addition, it could also result in hefty repair costs down the line.
Here are some helpful clues to determine if a potential problem is serious enough to warrant a visit to your mechanic sooner than later:
1. Your car seems to be behaving normally
2. No strange noises, smoke, or smell
3. You are getting the same gas mileage
RESULT: NOT SERIOUS, BUT KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR TROUBLE!
1. Constant rattle or other unusual noise
3. Serious decline in gas mileage
4. Car does not start/Difficulty in starting
5. Major loss of power
RESULT: POTENTIAL TROUBLE…TAKE THE CAR TO THE SHOP RIGHT AWAY!
At Pete Solis Collision Center, we are El Paso’s Auto Body Shop! With over 47 years of experience behind us, we are the top choice for bodywork, paint, and more. We are the home to ICAR certified professional body shop technicians, as well as quality Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes. Pete Solis Collision Center is located at 1434 Lomaland Dr. in El Paso, Texas. Give us a call today at (915) 599-8666. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.