It’s happened to almost all of us before; we get into our cars, turn the ignition, and there it is, blinking vigorously or blaring with a constant glow. We are talking about check engine lights! What should you do when you notice your check engine light is on? Should you call a tow truck to have it transported to your local mechanic? Or is your car still safe to drive for a while? These are all common questions asked by car owners and drivers when their check engine lights illuminate. So, what are the answers to these questions?
Continue reading to learn what you need to know about check engine light causes and recommended courses of action.
Check Engine Light Basics
Check engine lights are also known as malfunctioning indicator lamps (MIL). When ones lights up, it could mean several different things, from very small and self-fixable, to very serious and costly to repair. For these reasons, it is quite necessary to have your vehicle inspected by a professional automotive repair company as soon as your check engine light comes on. After all, that is the message it is sending to you! It’s telling you to have your engine checked!
A professional auto shop will use modern technologies and diagnostic equipment to read the code for a check engine light. But if you ignore a check engine light, you could be setting yourself up for future complications and costly repairs. Not only can an ignored check engine light lead to expensive car repairs, it can put your safety, your passenger’s safety, and the safety of other drivers in jeopardy.
Here are some of the most common reasons why check engine lights turn on:
➣ Flooded or Wet Engine
➣ Pinched or Worn-Out Fuel Injection Rings
➣ Deteriorated Spark Plugs
➣ Defective Oxygen (O2) Censors
➣ A Blown Gasket Head
➣ Cracked Manifold
➣ Loose Hose
➣ Residue Buildup on Exhaust Valves
➣ Electrical Problems
Should You Drive or Should You Get a Tow?
So, should you drive it to your auto shop, or have it towed? The answer is not so clear cut. If your check engine light comes on in the middle of a road trip, and you are far away from a town, it is wise to contact a towing company so that you do not over-drive your vehicle when there is a mechanical problem. On the other hand, if your check engine light comes on, and you are close to an auto shop, you can likely drive it there without doing any further damage. Overall, the choice is yours. It is recommended to never drive when a check engine light is on, but as mentioned, in some cases, you can make it to a nearby location.
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