Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is It Safe to Drive With the Emissions Light On?

Emissions Light

There is really no hard and fast answer to this question. It really all depends on what made the Emissions Light come on in the first place, and what you consider to be “safe.” Your emissions control reduces the amount of toxins that your vehicle delivers into the environment. So if you are concerned about your carbon footprint, you may consider the glowing Emissions Control Light to be very important.

Sometimes the Emissions Light can come on in conjunction with the Check Engine Light, and the car will still run properly – really, the only problem with the Emissions Light coming on is simply that the Emissions Light has come on. What you need to do is find out why it came on in the first place. There are certain things that you are going to have to watch out for:

  • If the car is running smoothly, and showing no problems other than the Emissions Light coming on, the problem could be with the sensor that triggers the light.

  • Most of the time, when an Emissions Light comes on, it is due to either a sensor or a problem with the exhaust gas recirculation valve.

  • It is also possible that you have a vacuum hose that has become disconnected, or has developed cracks.

So, is it safe to drive with the Emissions Control Light on? Yes, as long as it is the only light that has come on, you do not have to worry about your safety. However, you should still find out what is causing the problem, and then have it fixed. The best way to determine the cause is to have a qualified mechanic connect your vehicle’s diagnostic connector link to a code reader in order to determine what is causing the light to come on and stay on.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...

Related questions

Q: Car cannot pass inspection

It is hard to say what the issue is exactly without knowing what Diagnostic Trouble Codes or DTC's are present in your vehicles engine computer. A DTC is an automatic fail in most states, if there are no DTC's the...

Q: P0016 and P0018 keep popping up.

Hi, thanks for writing in. These codes are both camshaft and crankshaft correlation codes. While these codes can be caused by a faulty sensor, more often they indicate a problem with the engine timing components. This could be anything from...

Q: Can't get an emissions test due to faulty plug

Hi! Since the power fuse was blown and your attempts to install a new fuse causes sparks, it would seem that there is a large draw or short on that power system. First, disconnect the ground cable to the battery...