You’re driving alone when suddenly an orange light on your dashboard displays a warning “check engine”. What might have happened? Most vehicle owners are not really sure what’s happening when they see this warning indicator. The check engine light can mean many different things – from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine. The vehicle should have a check engine light diagnostic. Ignoring the warning could end up damaging expensive components or it can be that something simple needs to be addressed with the vehicle.
When the check engine light illuminates, it is either blinking or remains constantly illuminated, depending on the problem. A blinking light or in some vehicles a red light indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. In late-model gasoline vehicles, a blinking light usually indicates an engine misfire so severe that unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust system where it can quickly damage the oxygen sensors or catalytic converters .
But if you’re in the middle of nowhere, here are some tips that you need to know to diagnose check engine light:
- Look for a serious problem that requires immediate attention. You can begin by checking your dashboard gauges and lights for indications of low oil pressure and overheating. If the answer is yes, these conditions mean that you should pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you find a safe place to do so. For some vehicles, a check engine light diagnostic means to investigate the problem and a red one means stop right now.
- Try tightening your gas cap. Sometimes, this solves the problem but keep in mind that it may take several trips before the light resets and some vehicles have a separate indicator that warns of a loose gas cap.
- Reduce speed and load. If the check engine light is blinking or you notice any serious performance problems such as loss of power, it is better to reduce your speed and try to reduce the demands of the engine. An example is that it would be a good idea to stop towing a trailer and instead have the vehicle checked as soon as possible to prevent costly damages.
- Use built-in diagnostic services. Many modern vehicles have integrated remote diagnostic capabilities with the ability to report on trouble codes and schedule a service appointment.
Truck-N-Trailer offers professional engine diagnostics service in Oklahoma City. At our family-owned and operated facility, only knowledgeable, and experienced mechanics who know medium-duty engines will carry out the comprehensive service for accurate results. Call us now at (405) 912-5800.