Ignoring the check engine light could prove to be quite expensive. While it’s true that a minor problem could go unattended for a long time without causing a serious problem, the light could be telling you that a serious problem is imminent. It would be wise to have the potential problem checked by a qualified mechanic as quickly as possible. Doing so could prevent costly repairs.
Check the Gas Cap
A loose gas cap could cause the check engine light to come on. If your check engine light does come on, the first thing you should do is shut the engine off, and then make sure your gas cap is on right and closed tightly. If the light stays on when you restart the engine, drive a few minutes, then turn the engine off again, and restart it. If you do this a few times, and the check engine light doesn’t go off, take the car to your mechanic as soon as you can in order to find out what the problem is.
Flashing Check Engine Light
If your check engine light comes on, but flashes instead of simply remaining on, it could be a sign that something very serious is wrong. Don’t waste any time getting the car to a mechanic–you should keep your speed down and don’t carry excessive weight in the car until you have the problem checked out. The fact that the light is flashing instead merely being on is telling you that the cause of the problem needs immediate attention.
Diagnosing the Problem
In most cases, the problem that is causing the check engine light to come on can be dealt with quickly, and with a minimum of cost, providing you get the car to a qualified mechanic quickly. The mechanic will hook your engine’s computer up to a diagnostic computer, which will help identify the problem. The diagnostic computer will provide the mechanic with a code that will tell them what made the check engine light come on. With the diagnostic computer attached, your mechanic will check out the car’s systems and repair or replace whatever caused the light to come on.