The check engine light can be a point of frustration for many people. It’s there to let you know that something is wrong, but it’s kind of vague on the details. Is it a serious issue that you need checked out by a professional? Or are you going to end up paying an auto shop to tell you that your gas cap is loose?
Many people choose to simply ignore their check engine light. While some of them may get away with it for a time, it’s a risk that’s generally not worth taking.
As we said before, if the check engine light is on, it means that something is wrong with your car. The longer you ignore it, the more costly it can ultimately become.
What Exactly is the Check Engine Light?
The check engine light, also known as the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) started showing up in the early 80s as car engines became more computer controlled. Unlike most other indicator lights in your vehicle, the check engine light doesn’t directly tell you what’s wrong. You’ll need a diagnostic tool to be plugged into your car’s computer to give you the details.
Using this information, a mechanic can then examine the issue further and tell you what needs to be done. While it would be nice if your car’s dashboard simply told you what was wrong from the start, modern engines are simply too complex to relay this information directly. Still, the check engine light is a very useful indicator that can often stop problems before they start, saving you a lot of time and money in the long run.
How Do I Know if It’s Serious?
What some people might not realize is there are actually two types of signals the check engine light provides: steady and flashing. The steady light is the less serious of the two. If the light stays on, then an engine sensor has noticed something isn’t quite right. This could be that your gas cap isn’t sealed, a sensor is faulty, or something in your engine needs to be replaced soon such as the catalytic convertor, spark plugs, etc.
If the light is flashing, then a serious issue has been detected, and you should stop driving your car immediately. Unless a trustworthy auto shop is literally just around the corner, you shouldn’t even risk driving it to the shop. Extended operation could severely damage your engine.
Though a steady engine light generally isn’t near as critical as one that is flashing, you still shouldn’t ignore it. Even simple issues hurt your fuel economy and wear on your engine more. Left unchecked, they can quickly lead to more serious issues.
The sooner you can see a mechanic, the better. Of course, you don’t want to take your car to just any auto shop. If you’re looking for maintenance in the Miami Valley area, Zima Automotive is here to provide you with honest, professional auto service.
Whether your check engine light is currently on, you’re due for some regular maintenance, or you’d like some custom work done, Zima Automotive has your needs covered. For auto repair in the Springfield, Ohio area, contact Zima today!