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Sales: (651) 490-6600
3360 Hwy 61 N, St. Paul, MN 55110
You’re driving to work or headed out of town for a family vacation, and your check engine light pops up on your dashboard. Every driver dreads that light. When it comes on, you don’t know if you should ignore it and worry about it later, or stop driving right away and figure out what’s wrong. It could be a minor problem that you can fix yourself. Or, there could be a failing part that needs to be replaced immediately. Here’s what you should know:
Different Check Engine Lights
Many vehicles have a flashing check engine light and a solid check engine light. If it’s flashing, it means there’s a serious problem, like an overheating engine or engine misfire. Whatever it is, it can cause irreversible damage to your car. Take your car to a mechanic immediately.
A solid or steady light could mean there’s a minor issue, like your gas cap isn’t on tight enough. Or, it could be something more in-depth, like a fuel, timing or transmission problem. Have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as you can.
Some cars also have a yellow check engine light and a red check engine light. Yellow means the problem should be addressed soon, and red means you need to stop driving immediately and address the problem right away.
Why the Light Is On
Here are the most common reasons why your check engine light might be on:
- Your oxygen sensor is failing.
- Your mass airflow sensor is failing.
- Your catalytic converter is failing.
- Your exhaust gas recirculation valve is failing.
- Your spark plugs or ignition coils are failing.
- Your engine is overheating or misfiring.
- There are problems with your spark plugs/ignition coils.
- There’s a leak in your vacuum system.
- You have a broken, missing or loose gas cap.
- Your car battery is dead.
Is It Safe to Drive With the Light On?
You may or may not be able to drive with your check engine light on. That depends on why it popped up, and how your vehicle performs when it’s on. Here are three steps to help you figure out if you should keep driving:
- Figure out what else is wrong and if the problem requires immediate attention. In addition to the check engine light, your dashboard might tell you that your car has low oil pressure or overheating issues. If it does, pull over, turn off the engine, and have it towed to a mechanic for further inspection.
- Your vehicle might not perform as well when the light is on. If that happens, you need to slow down and take it easy on your engine. Avoid high speeds and erratic shifting. If you’re towing anything, try to unload it as soon as possible.
- Check your gas cap. If the light comes on right after you’ve filled up your tank, it might be telling you that you didn’t put the cap on tight enough. Pull over and fix it. You might have to restart the engine several times to reset the light afterward. Some newer cars have a gas cap specific indicator light.
Car Maintenance In St. Paul, MN
If you’re check engine light comes on and you need help figuring out what the problem is, stop by Buerkle Honda in St. Paul, MN! Our auto body shop will determine exactly what’s wrong, make any necessary repairs, and replace any broken parts. Our staff Ivan work on all makes and models, not just Hondas. If you’re shopping around for a new car, you’ll find exactly what you need at our dealership. And, every vehicle comes with free oil changes, tire rotations, a $200 loyalty bonus toward your next Buerkle vehicle*, and more. Visit buerklerewards.com for details. We’re close to Minneapolis, Inver Grove, and Blaine!
*$200 Buerkle loyalty bonus toward down payment.