Many Reno drivers dread the sight of a lit Check Engine Light. A tiny yellow harbinger of fear and doubt. Will it bear news of something simple or will the frightful specter of engine repair bills rear its ugly head?
The cryptic warnings offered by the Check Engine Light have vexed drivers for decades. Its appearance could mean you are free to keep driving or you need to get your car towed. Here’s a rundown of what the Check Engine Light does and what it means:
What Your Check Engine Light Does
The Check Engine Light’s sole purpose is to tell you your car has a problem. Nothing more. It won’t tell you what problem your car has; you will need a technician to perform a diagnostic to find out. It only indicates there is something not working right.
Also known as the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL), when your car’s diagnostic system finds an issue it triggers the Check Engine Light. Originally the diagnostic system was for making sure cars remained compliant with the EPA’s emissions-control requirements. Turns out the easiest way to be compliant was to monitor the engine more than the exhaust.
One thing Reno drivers should consider is how engine troubles affect the car’s exhaust. Problems with the engine lead to higher emissions output. Because of this, if your Check Engine Light is on your car will automatically fail a smog check in Nevada.
What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?
When your Check Engine light comes on it is either solid or flashing. They mean two different things.
A flashing light indicates a problem which needs to be addressed immediately. Find a safe place to pull over and turn your car off. You may need to get your car towed to an auto repair shop like Wayne’s Automotive Center. You will need a technician to diagnose the problem as soon as possible. Do not ignore a flashing light.
If the light is solid, it may still be cause for concern, but it is nothing immediate. A solid light can be as insignificant as a loose gas cap, or it could signal fuel, timing, or transmission troubles. While your car will need a diagnosis from a technician, it is not nearly so urgent as a flashing light. Still, get your car diagnosed sooner rather than later.
There are dozens of reasons the Check Engine Light comes on. A lit light should always be checked out. Sometimes the light may remain on after an issue has resolved itself. In these cases, a technician will need to clear the code. If you more questions you can ask the friendly pros at Wayne’s Automotive Center.