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What Should I Do When The Check Engine Light Comes On?

Check-EngineThe check engine light, also know as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp or “MIL”, may vary in appearance from vehicle to vehicle, but in most Japanese vehicles it is either a yellow light with a picture of an engine or yellow light that says check or service engine soon.

The MIL will illuminate in one of two ways:
MIL comes on steady- Usually due to a detected problem in the emissions control system. This can be due to something as simple as the gas cap being loose, and most emissions related problems to not pose an imminent safety issue. Our first recommendation is to check all the other warning lights and gauges (engine temperature and oil pressure for example) to be sure there is nothing else indicating a major problem. If there is nothing else out of the ordinary you should check the gas cap for tightness the next time you stop your car. If the cap is loose it may take a few driving trips before the computer turns the light off. If the cap is not loose, or it was and the light does not turn off within a day or so, contact us for further diagnosis. Again, most of the time there is nothing unsafe about driving with the light on but the car may not perform normally and fuel economy may suffer.

Mil is blinking:
This happens when an engine misfire has been detected. This condition can cause damage to expensive emissions components such as the catalytic converter. This condition requires immediate attention and to avoid or reduce the possibility of damage most manufacturers recommend the following:

  • Do not drive at speeds above 45 mph
  • Avoid hard acceleration
  • Avoid steep uphill grades
  • Avoid heavy loads as much as possible
  • Contact Automotive Instincts or your closest service facility as soon as possible.

If you have any questions you can always feel free to call or email us and we will be glad to give you assistance.