What Does a Check Engine Light Really Mean?

When you see your check engine light come on do you instantly fill with fear? Or do you ignore it and decide to keep driving until the car won’t move any further? Well, we are here to help you understand what the engine light is really telling you and how simple it can be to get the problem resolved!

First, a check engine light is a signal from the engine computer in your car that something isn’t functioning as it should. Basically, there is a malfunction somewhere and your car is smart enough to let you know before the problem becomes more serious.

The check engine light is really quite helpful. Since 1996 all car manufacturers have been required to follow a standard list of diagnostic trouble codes which allows your mechanic to quickly “plug your car in” to a computer and find out what is wrong. Usually the system is located under your steering column so it is easy and doesn’t take lots of time for mechanics to access the system. ┬áRemember, the service light is different than the check engine light – the service light refers to oil changes and regular maintenance.

So what are common causes of the check engine light? It can be as simple as a loose gas cap, the O2 sensor or the mass air flow sensor may need repair, there could be an issue with spark plug wires, and more. Don’t worry, though, if you regularly take your car in for oil changes then more often than not the fix will be simple! And don’t ignore the check engine light, the longer you wait to come in the more likely the problem grows!

Regular oil changes and recommended preventative maintenance can help prevent the engine light from turning on – schedule an appointment today and avoid pesky problems in the future!


  1. Rusty Leeth says:

    nice artilce , thank you . keep it up

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