Check engine light on: Engine light codes are read with a scanner

Check engine light

Your Check Engine Light is a warning indicator triggered by your vehicle’s OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) computer. When the computer senses that your emission control system or one of its components — such as the catalytic converter — is not working properly, it stores one or more trouble codes and turns the engine check light on. These trouble codes can be read by a professional auto mechanic using a scanner like the one above, and they aid in quickly diagnosing and solving the problem.

The Check Engine Light is not a general maintenance or service indicator. It is connected specifically to the emission control system to make sure your car stays within limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Whether your Check Engine Light goes on and off, or comes on and stays on, you should seek service as soon as possible and report what you observed to a professional mechanic. Does the light come on only in city or highway conditions? Is your vehicle’s performance affected in any way?

If the light stays on and there are performance problems, it may be best to have your car towed to an auto repair facility rather than drive it and have it suddenly stall in traffic.

If the Check Engine Light flashes continuously in a steady pattern while driving, this indicates a very serious problem which could possibly cause a fire. Immediately pull over at a safe place and have the car towed to an auto repair facility.