What Does It Mean When My Check Engine Light Comes On?

What Does It Mean When My Check Engine Light Comes On?

There are a multitude of reasons why your check engine light might turn on. You cannot know the reason, simply by looking at the light. But the common thread in these possible causes is that you need to visit your local Winston-Salem, NC auto repair shop. An auto mechanic will perform a diagnostic test to determine why the check engine light turned on. They will advise you of the appropriate solutions so they can fix your vehicle and get you back on the road in no time.

What the Check Engine Light Means

There are a variety of meanings behind your service engine warning. Below are the four scenarios typically experienced by drivers.

1. The light turns on in certain conditions or is flickering.

You may notice that your check engine light turns on in stop-and-go traffic, but turns off on the freeway. This indicates that your mechanical problem only takes place in stop-and-go or city driving scenarios. If the light flickers inconsistently and then turns off, you are experiencing intermittent engine problems. Drive your vehicle to your Winston-Salem, NC auto repair shop for diagnostic service.

2. The check engine light is steady.

If the light turns on and remains steadily lit, but you notice no performance issues, you probably have a fault in the emission control system. The light turns on and your vehicle’s computer allows operation only in lower gears. Many auto mechanics refer to this as “limp home mode.” Drive your vehicle to your auto repair shop in Winston-Salem as soon as possible.

3. The service light is on and you notice vehicle performance issues.

If your check engine light stays on and your car does not run as well as it should, your emission control and engine management system has a problem. This means that something is wrong with a component required to run your vehicle. You should not drive it at all as it risks unpredictably stalling or stopping. Instead, pull over to a safe area and have your vehicle towed to Cloverdale Auto Service.

4. The check engine light steadily blinks.

Unlike a flicker that comes and goes with vehicle operation, a steadily blinking check engine light flashes once or twice per second without changing its pattern. Or, it possibly only flashes this way when you accelerate. This is a serious issue and means you risk catastrophic failure of your emission control system. Your engine is misfiring to the degree that it is damaging your catalytic converter. This could start a fire under the vehicle, so you need to immediately pull over and have your vehicle towed to Cloverdale Auto Service.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for the Check Engine Light to Illuminate?

The check engine light commonly turns on for one of the following reasons:

  • Catalytic converter issue
  • Gas cap is loose
  • Mass airflow sensor failure
  • Oxygen sensor is faulty
  • Spark plugs or plug wires need replacement

Cloverdale Auto Provides Diagnostic Service

Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem, NC provides routine auto maintenance and auto repair services, including diagnostic service when your service light turns on. If this important warning light illuminates on your dash display, drive your vehicle carefully or have it towed to our auto repair shop. You can call us for an appointment and more information about whether it is safe to drive your vehicle, too. Call us at 336-331-3448.

Cloverdale Auto Service