Check Engine Light: What to Do When It Comes On
If you drive your car long enough, there is a good chance that the check engine light will come on at some point. Depending on the make, model and general condition of your car, the check engine light can signify a range of different issues. The first tip for dealing with the check engine light is not to panic. Rather than imagining the worst (like the death of your engine), think of it like an early warning signal alerting you of a problem that requires your attention.
Why Is the Check Engine Light Coming On?
The check engine light can be a sign of a few different problems, the most common of which are:
- Worn or damaged spark plugs and wires
- Damaged oxygen or mass airflow sensors
- Damaged gas cap
- Problems with the catalytic converter
Although none are necessarily a mechanical emergency in the moment, ignoring a check engine light — and what’s causing it — can affect your car’s performance and lead to problems in the future.
What to Do About a Check Engine Light
The most important step you can take — before something actually goes wrong with your car — is to become familiar with the manual so that you’re not caught off guard. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re dealing with when there is a problem.
In order to prevent potential mechanical damage, there are a few precautions that you can take if your check engine light comes on while you are driving:
- Pull over and turn off the engine Don’t panic; wait until you can safely pull over and turn off your car without blocking traffic or endangering yourself or fellow drivers.
- Check your oil to make sure you’re not running low, and look for signs of an oil leak.
- Take your car in to get serviced.
The problem may be as simple as needing a basic oil change, or you may have to have a faulty part replaced. The key is to have your car checked out as quickly as possible to avoid long-term engine damage.
We offer full mechanical service with no appointment necessary at a number of convenient locations, including Tupelo, Florence, Corinth, Muscle Shoals and Booneville.