Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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?

A: Your car is pretty sophisticated. The compu...

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 1000 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!

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: Hi, my air conditioner, speedometer, dash board lights, blinker lights (emergency ones are okay) and power windows are not working

Claimed by Kevin Gainer

Q: Poor gas mileage

Turbochargers are for producing more power from a smaller size engine. Fuel economy is not maintained when a turbocharger is used. Turbos only operate under a power request of the throttle position. They introduce more air into the engine, and...

Q: Can I Look Up What Trouble Codes Mean?

When your Check Engine Light comes on or flashes on the dash for you it is indicating there is a problem in one of the vehicle systems and has set a trouble code stored in one of the modules’ memory....

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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.