What to Do if the Engine Light Is On

No auto repair problem is more frustrating or overlooked than the check engine light. The first thing to remember if your engine light comes on is to keep your cool. The light may indicate a slight problem with your tires and suspension, faulty mufflers or low-quality exhaust. Even slight problems are a problem, so be sure you take the steps to find and understand the cause.

Don’t ignore the engine light on your dash. While it may indicate a simple problem that won’t affect your car’s performance, there’s also a chance that the light could be caused by something more serious. Depending on the make and model of your car, the engine light may be letting you know that it’s time for transmission repair, a muffler examination or any other type of automotive service.

The check engine light is part of the on-board diagnostics (OBD) system found in modern cars. This system monitors and regulates engines and their functions, from transmissions to exhaust systems and more. There is no way to know exactly what the underlying problem is without a diagnostics computer. If you don’t own a diagnostic reader, you can either visit a mechanic or an auto repair shop.

You have several choices when it comes to getting your OBD system read. You can see a mechanic at an auto repair shop, who may or may not charge you a fee, or you can visit a do-it-yourself automotive repair store, which usually reads your OBD system for free. The diagnostic computer will read the same error code regardless of where you take your car, which will let the technician know what the precise cause of the engine light is.

Once you know the cause of the engine light, you can make an informed decision about whether to deal with it yourself or seek additional help from an auto repair specialist. For further questions about how to get your on-board diagnostics system read, call or visit an auto repair shop near you.

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