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Q: What does it mean if the Malfunction Indicator lamp/Check Engine Light comes on?

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What does it mean if the Malfunction Indicator lamp/Check Engine Light comes on?

If the Malfunction Indicator Lamp/Check Engine Light comes on, this could be an indication of several things. Many of which will differ depending on the make and model of the vehicle and the manufacturer’s specifications. The purpose of this warning light is to alert the driver of a problem within the engine or transmission, or to signal that scheduled maintenance is necessary for the vehicle. There are several indicator lights on the dashboard intended to communicate to the driver that attention to a particular area is required. Some of those indicator lights include:

  • Coolant Temperature Warning Indicator Light
  • Transmission Temperature Warning Indicator Light
  • Oil Pressure Warning Indicator Light
  • Battery/Charging System Warning Indicator Light
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Warning Indicator Light
  • Brake System Warning Indicator Light
  • Reduced Power Warning Indicator Light
  • Service Engine Soon Warning Indicator Light

The Malfunction Indicator Lamp/Check Engine Light most often is an indication that there has been a major engine or transmission malfunction and a diagnostic trouble code has been stored by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The diagnostic trouble code is used by certified technicians to pinpoint the problem and problem area in order to properly and efficiently make necessary repairs. The Malfunction Indicator/Check Engine Light should not be ignored and should be addressed as soon as possible. While some diagnostic trouble codes indicate a more serious issue than others, it is possible that a less serious issue will worsen or cause damage to other engine components if they are unaddressed for an extended period of time.

If the Malfunction Indicator Lamp/Check Engine Light is on in your dashboard, make an appointment with a certified technician to have it diagnosed and repaired.

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