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What to Expect When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Seeing a light become illuminated on your dashboard can be alarming. If a light lights up on your dashboard and you do not know what it is, refer to your owner’s manual to determine what the light may mean. If it is your check engine light that has a glow to it, or in some cases may be flashing instead of solid, you may be wondering what this could mean and what you need to do. Here is what you can expect and should know if your vehicle’s check engine light comes on. 

Why Does the Check Engine Light Come On? 

The check engine light can come on for a number of different reasons. Contrary to popular belief, the check engine light does not only come on if there is an issue with your engine. While the light may come on if your engine is misfiring, it may also come on due to problems with your spark plugs, problems with your fuel emission system, problems with your thermostat or due to issues with fuel injectors. A faulty or leaking gas cap may also trigger your check engine light to come on. In newer vehicles, a check engine light may be solidly illuminated for minor issues and may flash for more pressing issues.

Should You Continue to Drive Your Vehicle With the Check Engine Light On? 

It is not recommended that you drive for prolonged periods of time with the check engine light on. The check engine light can indicate relatively small problems, but can also be indicative of larger problems that need to be repaired right away. Continuing to drive the car if a larger problem is present, such as engine misfiring, can cause more damage. Instead, you should bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop. They can run a diagnostic test that can help them to pinpoint why the check engine light is on. From there, repairs can be made to the vehicle so that the problem is fixed and the light shuts off. 

Why Should You Bring Your Vehicle to a Car Repair Shop If the Check Engine Light is On? 

Having the check engine light on should be warning enough for you that your vehicle needs to be inspected and repaired. However, another reason why this needs to occur is because in many states, including California, your vehicle will automatically fail a smog inspection if the check engine light is on. As such, if your vehicle is due to be smogged, have an illuminated check engine light attended to prior to moving forward with your smog check. 

If your check engine light comes on, you need to bring your vehicle into an auto repair shop as quickly as possible to have the car diagnosed and determine why the light is on. Here at Morgan Automotive Repair, we have locations in Tracy, Manteca and Stockton, California to help you with all of your car repair needs. If your check engine light is on, bring your vehicle to us to diagnose and properly repair your vehicle. 

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