What is a Check Engine Light?
A Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning light that illuminates on the dashboard of a vehicle’s instrument panel. It is also known as a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL). The CEL is designed to alert the driver that there is a potential problem with the vehicle’s engine or emission control system.
When the CEL illuminates, it indicates that the vehicle’s onboard computer system has detected a fault or malfunction in one of the components or systems it monitors.
My CEL is on. What's Next?
When the check engine light is on, it’s recommended to have a mechanic look at your car as soon as possible. While a steady check engine light can indicate a range of issues, some of which may not be urgent, it’s important to address the problem before it worsens and causes further damage to your vehicle.
Ignoring the check engine light can result in reduced fuel efficiency, reduced performance, and potential engine damage, which can be costly to repair. If you continue to drive the vehicle with the check engine light on, you risk causing further damage and potentially increasing the cost of the repair. In addition, some states require that a vehicle pass an emissions test before it can be registered or sold, and a check engine light can cause a vehicle to fail the test. Therefore, it’s best to have a mechanic look at your car as soon as possible when the check engine light is on.
My CEL is Blinking. What does this mean?
When the check engine light is blinking or flashing, it indicates a serious and potentially dangerous problem with the engine. Unlike a steady check engine light, which could indicate a less serious issue, a blinking check engine light indicates an urgent issue that requires immediate attention.If your check engine light is flashing, it is important to stop driving the vehicle immediately and have it towed to a qualified mechanic or repair facility. A professional technician will need to diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs before the vehicle can be safely driven again.