What Does My Check Engine Light Mean?

June 18th, 2017 by

Check engine light

Check engine! No one wants to see that little orange-yellow light pop up, right? Our minds race to the worst possible scenario. But, what does the check engine light mean, anyway? We’ll break it all down for you, so you know what to do next time it happens.

What is the Check Engine Light?

Every vehicle is equipped with an onboard diagnostics (OBD) system that uses computers to constantly monitor various aspects of its performance, including emissions. If it finds a problem that it can’t automatically adjust that may impact the vehicle emissions systems, that light will come on and a trouble code will get stored in the computer’s memory.

Is it Blinking or Solid?

Depending on the issue, the check engine light may stay lit or blink. If the light is staying on, it’s not an emergency. However, you should still make an appointment for a technician to diagnose the problem. If your check engine light is blinking, it’s a more serious issue, typically a severe engine misfire. That happens when unburned gasoline makes it into the exhaust system and causes the catalytic converter to reach extremely high temperatures. If you see your check engine light blinking, pull over to a safe spot immediately to try to avoid an expensive repair.

Your Options

If your check engine light comes on, immediately look for other signs of a problem, such as low oil pressure or overheating. If you see anything like this on your dashboard gauges, pull over to a safe spot as soon as possible and turn off your engine. Reduce your speed if you can’t stop your car quickly. If you don’t see any other warning lights, try tightening your gas cap, and see if the light turns off after a few trips to allow the light to reset. And, as we already mentioned, if the check engine light is blinking, you need to stop your car as soon as possible.

A trained automotive service professional is your only real option for diagnosing the problem via the trouble code in the computer system. Don’t wait to have your vehicle repaired because it may escalate your problem. Finally, be sure not to confuse the check engine light with other dashboard lights for service.

Bill Kay Ford Service

Bill Kay Ford’s service department is always available for vehicle diagnostics and repair. We have all the latest equipment and technology in addition to a service team that’s always up-to-date on current issues. Simply call our service department at 708-388-3000, or schedule an appointment online. Contact Bill Kay Ford anytime!

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