Is It Safe to Drive With the Glow Plug Light On?

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Your diesel vehicle is equipped with glow plugs, and also with a Glow Plug Light that will either come on and stay on, or flash or blink when a fault is detected by the ECU (engine management unit). When the Glow Plug Light comes on, the ECU stores information about the condition that has caused it to come on. A qualified mechanic who has a code reader that is suited to your particular make and model of vehicle can retrieve this information, and then make a diagnosis of the problem and recommend a course of action.

So, can you drive safely with the Glow Plug Light on? It depends on the nature of the problem. Sometimes, when the Glow Plug Light comes on, the engine in your vehicle will go into “safety” mode, in order to prevent any damage to the engine. If this should occur, you might perceive a drop in performance. This is likely not a big deal if you’re just booting around town, but it could present a safety issue if it occurs when you are performing a maneuver like passing or merging on the highway. Here is what you need to do.

  • Get a diagnostic check as soon as possible in order to find out just what the problem is and how to correct it. You don’t want to leave this to guesswork. Much of the time, the problem can be attributed to faulty crank sensors or cams, but there are also other things that can cause the Glow Plug Light to come on.

  • If you must continue to drive, make sure to take it easy. It would probably be best to avoid highway driving.

  • Do not assume that the problem will just go away on its own – it won’t. The Glow Plug Light came on for a reason, and until you find out what that reason is and have it corrected, it is going to stay on.

You can probably drive safely with the Glow Plug Light on as long as you take it easy. But you do need to get it checked out. Always remember, your warning lights are trying to tell you something, and determining whether the message is serious or of little consequence is best left up to a qualified mechanic.


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YourMechanic Warning Light is on Inspection Service

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Number of Reviews

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Rating Summary
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Matthew

31 years of experience
666 reviews
Matthew
31 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala - Warning Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
First off he was on time....actually 30 mins early which was great. Everything he described was what I was going through and he knew exactly what I needed before he even looked at the car. Other mechanics i feel were trying to take advantage because I am a woman but he made me feel comfortable. Still have to get work done on it but at least I know exactly what the problem was.
Chevrolet Tahoe - Warning Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
Very detailed and takes the time to explain what is being done. Willing to answer any questions you may have. I would definitely use his services again and have already been telling my coworkers about this site. I have a unique electrical situation going on with my truck that none of the dealers could assess. Just by Matt doing some general maintenance , my truck is already driving smoother. Matt asked that I monitor things to make sure we don't need to troubleshoot anything else. I feel quite confident.

Travis

11 years of experience
56 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C230 - Warning Light is on - Charlotte, North Carolina
Travis came out to determine cause for the Check Engine light. He did so and told me what needed to be done and the cost.

Juan

7 years of experience
28 reviews
Juan
7 years of experience
Suzuki Grand Vitara - Warning Light is on - Durham, North Carolina
I won't go into details about the actual work performed - the result was completely satisfactory. Juan is knowledgeable about how these computerized engines work . He's very personable, polite, patient with my questions, and when I need service again, I'll request Juan. He put in more time than originally scheduled and seems to want to see things through and honest enough to tell you if the job is beyond his expertise and suggests taking car to dealer for more extensive diagnostic tests. I am well pleased.

Robert

11 years of experience
4 reviews
Robert
11 years of experience
Buick Encore - Warning Light is on Inspection - Manteca, California
He was great because I didn’t have to go anywhere I just stayed at home and he took care of everything

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