Why is My Check Engine Light On?

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Your check engine light came on, now what? These tips can help you determine whether it's just a loose gas cap or if your vehicle has more serious engine problem.

We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along when you notice a yellow light out of the corner of your eye. A quick glance at the dash and you notice the check engine light just came on. This warning can mean many different things from a misfiring engine, or broken oxygen sensor, to simply a loose gas cap. 

When you see the check engine light it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pull the car over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. Although, it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the warning could end up causing further, more serious damage.


The first thing to do is determine if it’s a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Check your dashboard gauges and lights for indications of low oil pressure or overheating. These conditions mean you should pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you can find a safe place to do so.

Usually a yellow “check engine” means investigate the problem, while a red “check engine” means stop right now.

read your owner’s manual

Your owner’s manual mentions the different reasons that would trigger the check engine light to come on. It should also give you a tour of the other gauge and warning indicators on your dashboard.

try tightening your gas cap

This often solves the problem. Keep in mind that it may take several trips before the light resets. Some vehicles have a separate indicator that warns of a loose gas cap before the condition sets off the “check engine” light.

Reduce your speed and, if possible, the weight you’re carrying

If the “check engine” light is blinking or you notice any serious performance problems, such as a loss of power, reduce your speed and try to reduce the load on the engine. For example, it would be a good idea to stop towing a trailer. Have the car checked as soon as possible to prevent expensive damage.

get a diagnosis

Even if you don’t notice an extreme problem, you should definitely still have the check engine code read and the problem fixed. If you want to diagnose the malfunction yourself, you can buy a scan tool at most auto parts stores. Prices range from about $40 to several hundred, depending on the model and the features. These tools will give you instructions on how to decipher the engine codes. If you don’t have to mechanical skills already to diagnose and fix the problem, it’s a more cost-effective decision to go directly to a service centre.

In any case, if your check engine light came on, it’s time to schedule a service appointment.  If you’re check engine light is on and you’re in need of a diagnosis, book an appointment with our Service Department for a fast and cost efficient solution.
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