What the check engine light means | OkCarz

Dashboard closeup with a service engine soon light on next to text reading why is your check engine light on?

Why is your check engine light on? 

Generally, when they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, drivers are able to relax and focus on a single task. Unfortunately, sometimes when you’re in the middle of a drive, something horrible can happen. You might be driving along, with nothing but the open road in front of you, when the check engine light suddenly appears. While it might not be enough to completely ruin your day, having any lights on your dashboard means trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with your vehicle and how you can fix it.  

While it can be tempting to cover up the check engine light, or just ignore it, that can lead to any of your vehicle’s problems getting worse. While it can be fairly easy to check to see what exactly is wrong with your vehicle, it is also a hassle. Of course, it can be time-consuming to get your vehicle diagnosed, and then to get that issue fixed, but at least you can be sure that your vehicle won’t end up on the side of the road.  

[Related: Why you need to change your oil]

What is wrong with your vehicle when the check engine light is on? 

Closeup of a silver vehicle with a closed gas cap

Generally, when your check engine light comes on, the problem is related to the powertrain and emissions system. This could mean anything from a problem with your spark plugs, or an issue with the catalytic converter. While these can cause damage over time, they won’t immediately destroy your vehicle. However, when your check engine light comes on, the first thing you should do is check your gas cap. When the gas cap is loose, you’re losing fuel due to evaporation, which reads as an emissions problem.  

There are plenty of reasons that your check engine light might be on, but it isn’t usually anything that needs immediate attention. If the light begins blinking, you will want to pull over, as that can indicate a misfire in the engine, which can lead to extensive damage. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, but want to make sure that it won’t have the issues that many used vehicles do, OkCarz checks all of their vehicles before they get put on the lot, and every one comes with a six-month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty 

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