There are many warning lights that can illuminate on your dashboard. They can be indications of a pending failure in any number of your vehicle's systems. The Check Engine Light is the main indicator used by your vehicle's computer to warn of a pending or current problem within the powertrain.
Many people ignore their warning lights, and over time this can cause more costly damage to the vehicle. Knowing some of the common symptoms that turn on the light and how to reset it can help you to avoid more serious problems.
Why the Check Engine Light comes on
The Check Engine Light can come on for any number or reasons. When your vehicle's onboard computer detects something is not right, it illuminates the light. This can be an indication of a minor or major problem.
Symptom 1: The Check Engine Light comes on solid, but the vehicle is running fine. This can be caused by anything from a sensor that is reading incorrectly to a loose gas cap.
If your car is running fine but the light comes on many times, it is still fine to drive. It is important to have the vehicle checked out as soon as you have a chance.
Symptom 2: The Check Engine Light comes on and the vehicle is showing signs of problems. This means that the computer is detecting an issue within the powertrain, and that it is affecting the way that the vehicle performs.
This can also be caused by a sensor failure, but it can be something more serious or can indicate that a part - such as a fuel pump - may be failing. You should get the vehicle to a shop right away.
Symptom 3: The Check Engine Light is on and is flashing. When the Check Engine Light flashes, that indicates a very serious problem.
Most of the time this is a sign that there is an engine misfire. When the Check Engine Light illuminates and flashes then the vehicle should not be driven any further, as serious damage can occur.