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'Check Engine Light Banner'


You're driving your car, or maybe you just turned it on, when suddenly you notice a yellow light illuminating on your car's dashboard. Like most car owners, chances are you haven't a clue what could be wrong. The check engine light is the most mysterious of all of the dashboard lights, as well as the most menacing. It's one thing when your TPMS light comes on, but it's a whole different ball game when there could be something wrong with your engine.

The check engine light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine. It doesn't necessarily mean you need to abandon ship and immediately pull your car over to the side of the road, but to be safe, it's best to make an appointment at your local service center to see what may be wrong. If you're less prone to panicking, and instead, you're asking yourself, “How long can I drive with the check engine light on?”, then chances are you may need to read on from here.


Why is My Cars Check Engine Light on?

'Oxygen Sensor Replacing Banner'

Oxygen (O2) Sensor Needs Replacing
Your oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in your vehicle's exhaust system. A vehicle with a failed oxygen sensor will appear to operate normally, but generally will not pass an emissions test.

'Gas Cap Missing Banner'

Gas Cap is Loose, Damaged or Missing
Your gas cap seals the fuel system and helps maintain pressure within the fuel tank. It also prevents gasoline fumes (hydrocarbons) from being released into the atmosphere while you aren't driving your car.

'Catalytic Converter Replacing Banner'

Catalytic Converter Needs Replacing
Your catalytic converter helps protect our environment by converting harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Damage usually occurs due to neglected maintenance. Without a properly working catalytic converter, your vehicle will stall out and will be unable to drive, due to inevitable engine failure.

'Mass Air flow Sensor Replacing Banner'

Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) Needs Replacing
Your mass airflow sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine to determine how much fuel is needed to run your engine efficiently. Your engine may experience reduced power, also known as limp-home mode.

'Insufficient Recirculation Flow Banner'

Insufficient Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve Flow
EGR is an emissions reduction technique. It works by recirculating a portion of your engine's exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders. Whenever the EGR valve is clogged or not working normally, engine performance can go down. So any time you experience rough idling or valve knock, you should have the
valve inspected.

'Plug Wires Replacing Banner'

Spark Plugs or Plug Wires Need Replacing
Your spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your vehicle. The spark plug wires deliver the spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. Neglecting to replace your spark plugs will ultimately cause engine failure.

Why is My Cars Check Engine Light Blinking?

A blinking or flashing dashboard light usually indicates a more severe problem. When this occurs, check your vehicle service manual and schedule an appointment to have the problem looked at by a professional technician as soon as possible. Ignore the warning, and you could end up damaging expensive components.

Check out our Dashboard Indicator page if you need help identifying your car's indicator lights.