The check engine light seems to be a bad omen for vehicle owners. That said, when the light comes on, it might point to a simple issue with a straightforward fix that costs you nothing, such as a loose gas cap. Even if the light signals something more pressing, you shouldn’t ignore it. Ignoring the tiny dashboard light can result in significant damage to your engine and expensive repairs. The check engine light is not something to be feared; it should be embraced as the early warning it is.
Importance of Not Ignoring the Check Engine Light
When tripped, check engine lights either illuminate steadily or flash. Steady illumination means your vehicle needs service soon. As long as your car runs fine, it is safe to drive, but don’t push off getting the system checked for too long.
If the check engine light is flashing, that is not a good sign. A flashing light is a warning that you must pull over immediately. Your automobile is experiencing a severe issue that will cause imminent damage.
While flashing warnings are serious, they are rare compared to steady check engine lights. The constant light usually involves failed oxygen sensors, loose or damaged gas caps, airflow sensors or intake tract issues, misfires, or bad catalytic converters.
A catalytic converter superheats hydrocarbons and other harmful emissions, converting them to water vapor and carbon dioxide. The device helps manage carbon emissions and protect the environment. A failed converter is often the result of some other issue, which means it is not enough to replace the converter. You must take your car to a professional to determine the underlying cause of the problem, or it will probably continue to happen.
While not every issue triggering the check engine light stems from the catalytic convertor, it is among the more severe. That said, you don’t want to ignore the warning light regardless of the reason. Ignoring the light can lead to worsening problems, poor fuel efficiency, emissions problems, property damage, and safety hazards. Always get the vehicle checked.
Long-Term Maintenance and Prevention
A catalytic converter price should be enough to encourage people to take their car in after the check engine light comes on. Still, how do you prevent or reduce the risk of the warning light illuminating?
The best way to avoid problems with your vehicle is to maintain a proper maintenance and prevention schedule. You should bring your car to a licensed mechanic at least once annually for a check and tune-up. Review the owner’s manual for your specific vehicle to learn about maintenance schedules.
The check engine light is one of the most dreaded warning lights on a vehicle’s dashboard. Most people fear the expensive repairs that can accompany the warning light. Thankfully, not every cause for illumination is costly; sometimes, it’s as simple as replacing the gas cap. To learn more about the check engine light, visit your local auto parts dealer. They can run a diagnostic check to determine what might have signaled the warning.