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Car Maintenance Tip 7: What To Do When The Check Engine Light Is On?

Ever since the “Check Engine” light became standard for all car dashboards in 1996, drivers everywhere have been moaning in agony at the first sight of that little illuminated orange icon.


This special form of distress comes from the knowledge that the light means something serious is about to go wrong, but gives absolutely no indication of what the problem is. Instead of desperately hoping it will turn off on its own, take these steps:

  • Take your vehicle to a technician, who will connect a “scan tool” to the on-board diagnostic system.
  • The technician may require further testing and diagnostics to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.
  • Once the problem is identified, they will make the necessary repairs and reset the “Check Engine” light.
  • The 5 most common fixes for “Check Engine” lights are:
  • Replace the oxygen sensor
  • Inspect for loose fuel cap
  • Replace catalytic converter
  • Replace mass air flow sensor
  • Replace spark plugs

Warning: If the light is flashing, the problem is currently happening and may require immediate attention. A flashing “Check Engine” light is not to be ignored; that’s when you know it’s time to bring your car to your auto repair center of choice.

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