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Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

So your check engine light just came on, now what? It’s happened to us all before, you’re driving along when you notice a yellow light out of the corner of your eye. It’s the dreaded check engine light. If you’re like most car owners, you’re not sure if you should continue to panic or not, and you have little idea what that light is trying to tell you or how you should react. The often misunderstood check engine light or “service engine soon” message can mean many different things. It could be a misfiring engine, a broken oxygen sensor or simply a loose gas cap.

Here are some tips that can help you determine whether your vehicle has major engine problems or just something simple such as a loose gas cap.

• While it’s true that extreme problems like low oil pressure or an overheating engine will trigger your check engine light to come on, your dashboard has other lights and gauges to warn you of serious problems, and probably soon.

• A good rule of thumb is to always read your owner’s manual and learn about the different reasons that would trigger the check engine light to come on. It should also give you a tour of the other gauge and warning indicators on your dashboard.

• If your check engine light is on, the first thing to do is look for a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Check your dashboard gauges and lights for indications of low oil pressure or overheating. These conditions mean you should pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you can find a safe place to do so. On some cars, a yellow “check engine” means investigate the problem, while a red “check engine” means stop right now.

• Next, try tightening your gas cap. This often solves the problem. Keep in mind that it may take several trips before the light resets. Some vehicles have a separate indicator that warns of a loose gas cap before the condition sets off the “check engine” light.

• Reduce your speed and, if possible, the weight you’re carrying. If the “check engine” light is blinking or you notice any serious performance problems, such as a loss of power, reduce your speed and try to reduce the load on the engine. For example, it would be a good idea to stop towing a trailer. Have the car checked as soon as possible to prevent expensive damage.

• Even if you don’t notice an extreme problem, you should definitely still have the check engine code read and the problem fixed. If you want to diagnose the malfunction yourself, you can buy a scan tool at most auto parts stores. Prices range from about $40 to several hundred, depending on the model and the features. These tools will give you instructions on how to decipher the engine codes. If you don’t have to mechanical skills already to diagnose and fix the problem, it’s a more cost-effective decision to go directly to a service center such as Mac’s Automotive & Radiator Repair service center.

If you’re check engine light is on and you’re in need of a diagnosis, you can contact the Service Experts at Mac’s Automotive and Radiator Repair for a fast and cost efficient solution.

 

 

Mac's Radiator is the best mechanic to help you with all of your mechanic needs!  Let Macs help you - we are located in 6 convenient locations, for when you need us close to home, or when you're on the road.  

 

6 LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU

Portland, OR      (503) 777-4706
Beaverton, OR  (503) 646-2943
Bend, OR            (541) 382-6963
Boise, ID            (208) 344-1722
Eugene, OR        (541) 344-0253
Salem, OR          (503) 364-7129

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