Is it Safe to Drive with Your Check Engine Light On?

Emergencies seem to occur right before or after payday when money is scarce. Oddly enough, this is the time when your check engine light will appear on your car's dashboard. The check engine light is associated with your car's diagnostic system and designed to illuminate when malfunctions arise. Here's what you need to know about your check engine light and how to determine if your car is safe to drive.

How to Determine if Your Car is Safe to Drive While the Check Engine Light is On

.Whether or not your car is safe to drive while the check engine light is on depends on why the light came on.

Does the Problem Require Immediate Attention?

Your car's dashboard can tell you a lot about what's going on with your car. In addition to the check engine light illuminating, other system lights might appear, such as an oil can and other lights. You might also notice a light that indicates your car is overheating, such as the transmission temperature light. If these lights illuminate, find a safe place to pull over and check your car. Depending on the make and year of your car, a red check engine light indicates there's an issue that requires your immediate attention while a yellow check engine light indicates you need to investigate what's causing a malfunction with your vehicle.

Decrease Speed and Reduce Your Load

If you notice a decrease in your vehicle's performance when the check engine light appears, decrease your speed and avoid quick acceleration to prevent extra wear and tear on the engine. If you're hauling heavy equipment, such as a trailer, remove the extra weight as soon as possible.

Check the Gas Cap

The check engine light might appear after you get gas. If this is the case, pull over in a safe location and ensure the gas cap is tightly secure in place. Most of the time, this is a reliable solution to the problem, but it might take a few times starting your car before the diagnosing system registers the correction.

In any event, it's not a good idea to drive your car while the check engine light is on because it can be difficult to determine the cause. The only sure way to determine what's causing the light to appear is to perform a computer diagnostics test. If your check engine light is on, stop by our shop so we can take a look.

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