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CHECK ENGINE LIGHT: WHAT IT REALLY MEANS?


You are driving alone when suddenly the orange "check engine" warning light on the dashboard comes on. What could have happened? Most car owners don't quite know what's going on when they see this warning light. A check engine light can mean many things, from a loose gas tank cap to a serious engine misfire. The car should have the check engine light diagnosed. Ignoring the warning could result in damage to expensive components, or it could be something simple that needs to be fixed in the car.

When the Check Engine light comes on, it either blinks or lights steadily, depending on the problem. A flashing light or, in some vehicles, a red light indicates a problem that requires immediate attention. On late-model gasoline vehicles, the flashing light usually indicates an engine misfire so severe that unburned fuel is released into the exhaust system, where it can quickly damage the oxygen sensors or catalytic converters.


Here are some tips that you need to know to diagnose check engine light:


Look for a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Start by checking the gauges and dashboard lights for signs of low oil pressure and overheating. If the answer is yes, these conditions mean you should pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you find a safe place. For some cars, a diagnostic Check Engine light means you need to investigate the problem, and a red light means you should stop immediately.

Try tightening your gas cap. Sometimes this solves the problem, but keep in mind that it may take several trips before the light resets, and some cars have a separate indicator that warns of a loose gas cap.

Reduce speed and load. If the Check Engine light is flashing or if you notice serious engine performance problems, such as a loss of power, it's best to reduce speed and try to reduce the load on the engine. Examples include stopping towing a trailer and checking the vehicle as soon as possible to avoid costly damage.

Use built-in diagnostic services. Many modern vehicles have built-in remote diagnostic tools that allow you to report trouble codes and schedule a service visit.

Tacoma Truck Repair Center


Tacoma Truck Repair Center offers professional engine diagnostic services in Tacoma, WA. At our family-owned center, only knowledgeable and experienced mechanics who understand medium-duty engines will perform comprehensive service for accurate results. Give us a call right now at 253-231-5500.