Salem Auto Body Blog

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Oh, the wonderful feeling you get when you see your check engine light appear on your dashboard.

When the check engine light comes on in your vehicle, it is important to have it checked out by a professional. Most people have no idea why the light is on in the first place. There are many different things the light could mean, from major to minor problems.

First, remain calm. An illuminated check engine light does not mean you need to pull over immediately or call a tow truck. However, you should take your car in to have it checked out as soon as possible. By choosing to ignore the light, you could end up damaging important components to your vehicle.

A computer is constantly controlling and monitoring the performance of your car. This computer regulates engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing. When the computer finds an issue in the electronic-control system, it turns on an indication known as the “check engine light.” The indication can come in a variety of colors, such as yellow, orange, or red. Along with the indicator light, the computer will store a code, identifying the problem. This code is what is needed to figure out what has gone wrong with the vehicle.

Detecting the code from your car’s computer can be done at an auto service shop. If you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, they also make code readers you can purchase and detect the code on your own. Once the code is discovered, it is important you take your vehicle into a mechanic to have the issue fixed.

Here are some tips to follow if you find yourself with an illuminated check engine light:

  1. Check for a serious problem, such as low oil or overheating.
  2. Try tightening your gas cap, as this often solves the problem.
  3. Reduce your speed and the size of your load.

Most importantly, never ignore your check engine light once it comes on. Doing so can cause larger issues down the road. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give Salem Auto Body & Paintworks a call at 503.378.7595. We are not satisfied until you are!