What does the Check Engine Light usually mean? | GIC Car Clinic

We have all seen it and when we did, our hearts sank and we got that bad feeling in the pit of our stomachs. I’m talking about the dreaded check engine light on your vehicle’s dashboard. Sooner or later, it will come on and there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. Sure, you can take good care of your car and give it proper maintenance and you can even give it regular tune ups and use the right blend of gas. All that will help your car last much longer but it won’t keep your check engine light from coming on one day.

The fact is, vehicles tend to break down and sub-systems tend to fail on occasion. That’s a fact of life and by being well informed on what is actually happening when your check engine light comes on will go a long way on making you feel at ease and getting the problem solved.

Below are some very common check engine light issues:

My check engine light turns on and off or flickers
You may notice that your check engine light comes on at the very same point on your way home or during your daily drive. This is because a certain type of driving condition is causing the condition to present itself and the check engine light to come on and then go off a short time later. Try to pay attention to that and make a mental note every time this occurs. That way, when you bring your car in to have it checked out, you can explain to the mechanic what it is doing and when. That will give him some valuable insight into what may or may not be the problem.

My check engine light comes on and stays on
If your check engine light comes on and stays on while you are driving, this may be a less engine damaging issue. Usually the first thing you should check is if your gas cap is loose. In many instances, a loose gas cap is the main cause for a steady check engine light to come on. If that isn’t the culprit, you should bring your car in to have it scanned to see which codes are set. A steady check engine light is important, but it won’t leave you stranded any time soon.

My check engine light is on and there are noticeable performance problems
This condition is much more serious than just a steady check engine light. If your check engine light is on and you have noticeable performance issues, you should bring your car in to get it checked out right away. This condition indicates that there is something seriously wrong with a vital component of your emissions system and should be taken care of before any further damage is done. Avoid driving the car as much as possible and have it towed to GIC Car Clinic right away for a professional diagnosis and repair.

My check engine light is blinking in a steady pattern
When your check engine light is flashing, it is telling you to pull over and call for a tow. Do not drive it any further as doing so will result in more costly repairs and possible damage to other components or harm to you and your passengers. The steady blinking of your check engine light indicates a major failure within your vehicle’s emissions system and more harm is being done with every flash of the light. When your check engine light starts to flash, pull over, and have your vehicle towed to GIC Car Clinic in San Jose, California right away. Remember, do not attempt to drive your car any further.

Got Questions? Send us an Email