You're driving to work one morning and you look down at your dashboard only to notice that the Check Engine Light or CEL is illuminated. Seeing any warning lights on your dashboard can be concerning but what does this mean? Should you pull over and call your mechanic? Should you ignore it? The answer is somewhere in the middle. We asked our factory-trained technicians what our clients should do when their check engine light comes on and the answer may give you some relief. To understand what you should do, it's important to understand what this common light means.

What is a Check Engine Light?

While it may be very concerning to have any warning light on your dashboard, the Check Engine Light isn't always as scary as it sounds. The light can come on for a whole host of reasons. Something as simple as a loose fuel cap can trigger the light. In many cases, the light is an indicator that some component that affects the vehicle's efficiency and emissions has an issue. Things like cylinder misfires (often caused by old spark plugs or coil packs), o2 sensors, or Evaporative Emission Control Systems can trigger this light. Many times, you may not even notice drivability issues.

What do I do when it comes on?

There's no need to panic, pull over, have your vehicle towed, or cancel your day to deal with a check engine light if your vehicle doesn't have any other symptoms. Avoid taking long trips and if you notice any other issues, prioritize taking your car into the INFINITI of South Bay Service Center as soon as possible. Take note of any odd things your vehicle may be doing like idling poorly, not accelerating smoothly, or strange sounds. Communicate these with your service advisor to help your technicians better diagnose your vehicle. Arrange to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible because prolonged issues can cause damage to your vehicle's engine, exhaust, fuel system, and ignition system. It will also likely affect your fuel mileage, costing you more money in the long run.

The best way to prevent a warning light from ever coming on is to keep up with recommended maintenance. Each time you bring your vehicle in for oil changes, tire rotations, and alignments, our technicians look over the entire vehicle to head off any potential issues before they begin. Contact us online today to schedule your next service appointment. 


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