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What Exactly Does a Check Engine Light Mean?

Jul 31, 2008
Many people have experienced driving down the street only to see their "check engine" light come on. Some people immediately panic, head to the nearest car dealership or pull their car to the side of the road and call for help. Other people continue driving and totally ignore this message. This is typically for a couple of reasons. They may not be sure exactly what this means or they may not be able to afford whatever is wrong with the car, and so they attempt to drive it until it can't be driven anymore.

The "check engine" light can mean several things. A lot of it depends on the color of the light. If the check engine light is orange, this is a signal for caution, and the car is letting you know that there has been a problem found in one of the systems. When this shows up, the first thing that you need to do is to take it to the shop or dealership. They will be able to scan your car, determine what code is being given off and then help you address the problem. If the check engine light is red, this means that there is a serious problem, and engine damage or even failure may occur or has already occurred. This typically means that there is low oil pressure, or that the car is overheated. In these cases, the car does need to be turned off as soon as possible and towed to the shop.

Other systems are controlled by your car's computer, including the automatic braking system. If there is a problem with the system, a light will go on and the system will typically shutdown. The braking system will continue to work, but only for a short period of time.

The automatic braking system has two lights. One is the hydraulic brake system light and the other is the automatic braking system light. If there is low-pressure detected in the system, if the fluid is low or there's a leak, these types of problems need to be addressed immediately.

Other lights that may signal problem include lights that warn you that something is wrong with your airbags. If you find that this is the case, the car needs to be taken to the shop. This is because if you get into a wreck, properly working airbags will decrease your chances of getting hurt. Also, if an airbag goes off when it is not supposed to, this can also cause severe bodily harm and even death.

There are times when you initially turn on your car, the "check engine" lights light up. This is often normal and is no cause for concern. However, if they continue to stay on and if you see them changing from yellow to red, it is very important that you get the car into a shop and get it looked at as soon as possible. If you do not, you could be prolonging the problem and making it worse. As soon as you see one of these lights appear, it is best to take your car into an auto shop and get it looked at immediately.
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