Is your Check Engine Light on?
We have all been there - driving down the coast of Florida, looking out at a sunset and realizing how lucky we are to live in a year-round paradise...
And then it happens…
You look at your dashboard, and there it is… the ever-dreaded check engine light has come on.
What is your immediate reaction?
Most people look at it and think “probably not that big of a deal” and will just keep on driving without a second thought. Sometimes this light will go off on its own when you take this approach, and sometimes it won’t.
Legendary and the Check Engine Light
Often, when your check engine light comes on the first thing you do is wonder why this light is on.
The second thing you likely do is start trying to figure out if this is something that you can get away with ignoring, or if it is something that you should get taken care of immediately.
When you choose to go the safe route, stop in to Legendary Automotive and we will check out your car, truck or SUV and make sure that you know why this light came on, how important that problems is that is causing it, and what your best course of action is with getting a repair.
Why does my Check Engine Light have a Mind of its own?
While we have heard people ask this question, and while it may often seem like this is the case, you can rest assured that this is not the case.
At Legendary Automotive and Truck Service, our ASE Certified Master Technicians have said that check engine lights will go on and off on their own, but it is not because they have a mind of their own; rather it is because whatever condition caused your light to come on is corrected.
Case and point - it is very common for the light to go on and then turn off if there is a marginal issue with either an oxygen sensor or a catalytic converter. Different driving types can stress these components (causing the light to come on) while other driving conditions are favorable to these components.
When conditions are favorable for all components, the check engine light will be OFF. When the conditions are not favorable, the light will come on. It really is that simple!
Common Causes of your check engine light coming on
We already talked about the oxygen sensor, the catalytic converter, and the effect that these systems can have on your check engine light. This situation demonstrates one key fact…
Oftentimes, unless the light stays on for a while, these problems will correct themselves. However, if this light is coming on frequently, it is better to bring it in so that our ASE Certified Master Technicians can determine the exact cause of the problem.
There are a number of other causes for your check engine light to come on:
- Gas cap problems - if your cap is cracked, loose, or damaged then this will cause a VAC leak which will cause your check engine light to go off. This is also a common problem with capless gas tanks
- Spark Plugs - you will probably know if this is a problem… it will suddenly feel like your vehicle is not producing any power and it does not have any get-up-and-go. This is dangerous, as you will not be able to quickly accelerate, and it will also reduce your fuel economy
- There is a problem with your Electrical System - whether it is your battery or other electrical components, any type of poor electrical transmission can cause your check engine light to come on, and this can adversely affect the way your vehicle runs
- Addition of after-market components - it’s true; if you add after-market components that are not compatible with your vehicle, this can definitely trigger your check engine light to come on. We see this a lot at Legendary Automotive and Truck Service - the wrong parts cause your vehicle to think that there are some serious problems that have to be overcome.
There are other causes of the check engine light to come on, but the examples mentioned are some of the main causes, and they are what you are likely to encounter.
One more Check Engine “trick”…
There is one more thing you should know about your check engine light…
If it is on constantly, as in it is just on, usually the problem is relatively minor and you can drive yourself to our shop without much concern and we can diagnose your issue and get you one your way. Additionally, if you just got gas, got a new gas cap, started the vehicle for the first time in a while, or haven’t fueled up in about a month, these are minor issues that will right themselves. In many cases, filling your gas tank and driving for 50 miles will disengage the light.
On the other hand, if the check engine light is flashing, this is an emergency situation. In this case, you will want to pull over and call for a tow to our shop so we can diagnose your vehicle and correct the problem.
Your Legendary Solution to the Check Engine Light
Regardless of the issue, once your check engine light comes on, it is in your best interest to get this to your trusted automotive technicians to be certain that the issue is known, and to correct any problems that could damage your vehicle. At Legendary Automotive and Truck Service our ASE Certified Master Technicians can, and will, do it all.
We service all makes, models, and years, and we are the only shop in the Southwest Florida area to offer a full digital diagnostic service, and we stand by our work with a 36 month/36,000 mile warranty on all parts and labor.
When you come into Legendary Automotive and Truck Service, you know that you will be treated fairly, honestly, and we will offer you full transparency on everything that we find with your car, truck, or SUV.