Check Engine Light

check engine lightThe check engine light is the bane of drivers the globe over. Designed to be a helpful notice that there is something wrong this little light is the cause of untold amount of aggravation and frustration. The reason for this is because the enigmatic behavior of the this light. To some drivers it appears that the light has a mind of its own going on and off according to its whim with no consideration to anyone else. The truth is that little light is an important diagnostic tool that should not be ignored.

What is the Check Engine Light

This light is located on the dashboard and looks like an oddly shaped rectangle or the light can say “Check Engine”. Not too many people pay attention to this light when it’s not illuminated which makes its sudden orange glow all the more alarming. We are just not used to seeing the light illuminated.

Somewhere along the course of automotive history there developed a myth that the little annoying light is nothing to worry about. Children hear parents brush off the warning light all the time and grow up believing that that behavior is perfectly acceptable. A vehicle is a very complex machine that depends on all parts functioning together in flawless rhythm. When this rhythm is interrupted the vehicle fails. Sometimes that failure can be dramatic like a blown head gasket or that failure could be small like a bad spark plug. If you ignore the failure no matter how seemingly insignificant future problems will develop. The light’s whole purpose is to warn you about a possible failure.

What Does it Mean?

This warning light can mean any number of things. This is what causes many people so much aggravation. Drivers see the light and immediately think that all their hard earned savings must now go to the car. This is not necessarily true.

Possible causes of the check engine light are:

  • A loose gas cap
  • Worn spark plugs
  • Loose hoses
  • Problem with the fuel injector
  • A wet engine
  • Blown head gasket
  • A vacuum leak
  • Faulty oxygen sensor

Can You Wait?

The first reaction for drivers when they see that little warning light is to just wait and see. This attitude will end up doing extreme damage to your car. What could have been a repair job of just one hundred dollars could now total in the hundreds of dollars. The wait and see attitude will only result in further and extensive damage.