Q: What does it mean if the Check Engine light comes on in the dash?

asked by on

What does it mean if the Check Engine light comes on in the dash?

Your car is pretty sophisticated. The computer systems are capable of monitoring a number of different aspects of operation, including the exhaust/emissions system, the engine and transmission, and more. If a problem is detected, the Check Engine light is turned on. If the light comes on while you’re driving, it means that the computer has found a problem with the throttle control system, the transmission control system, the engine control system, or the emissions system.

If the light comes on and you don’t notice any immediate performance change, it may not be an emergency. However, if you do notice that the car is operating differently, it’s highly advised to pull over and have it towed. Even if the car doesn’t seem to be doing anything abnormal, have it inspected as soon as possible.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. What does it mean if the Check Engine light comes on in the dash?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: When should I replace my timing belt? How much will it cost on my vehicle?

Hello. The timing belt is suggested to be replaced on your vehicle at the 9 year or 90,000 mile mark, whichever comes first. Timing belts are great idea to replace at suggested intervals because simply put, they are the heart...

Q: How do I arm the immobilizer?

The immobilizer is a key security feature. The immobilizer is responsible for making sure that your vehicle can only be operated with an authorized key. The system cannot be armed or disarmed; it will automatically arm when you remove the...

Q: Car isn't shifting when pedal is all the way down and is slow.

Your engine management system is going into "limp mode" when the Check Engine light is illuminated, reducing engine power, and quite likely, leaving your automatic transmission in 2nd gear. This is why you are experiencing greatly diminished performance. Turning your...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
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...