What Does My Check Engine Light Mean?

You are just getting into your car, turn on the ignition switch, and there you see it, the infamous
check engine light suddenly appears. You sit there and might ask yourself; “What have I done
wrong? Is my car safe to drive?”. First things first, don’t panic! You are definitely not alone with
these important questions and Future Auto Service is here to help! So stick around and find out
everything you need to know about the check engine light in today’s blog.

Where does the check engine light actually come from?

To provide some background, the check engine light you are seeing on your dash, also known
as the malfunction indicator lamp, refers to a signal coming from your car’s computer. In today’s
car-world, sensors, software, and computers are installed everywhere around the car. It helps
the average consumer but also professional technicians to recognize and trouble-shoot
problems easier.
In some way, the check engine light turning on is not a bad thing right out the gate, you would
want to know if something is wrong with your car before it’s too late, right? The car is simply
communicating with you that something isn’t working the way it should be. However, that could
end up being just a minor fix such as a faulty gas cap, or something more major like a misfiring
engine. Since cars and engines are complex, all automakers institutionalized the OBD protocol
that lists codes through an universal connector in 1996. That has been an industry standard
ever since.

Dealing with a check engine light

To find out the true cause of your check engine light and properly take care of any issue, we
would recommend using a code reader or bringing the car to a mechanic or service department
you can trust, for example Future Auto Service in Burbank.

At our facility, certified technicians use a code reader to pull more data from your car’s
computer. CarMD, an automotive telematics company, published a list of the 10 most common
check engine codes. Take a look at them here:

  • Replace Ignition Coils and Spark Plugs
  • Replace Oxygen Sensors
  • Replace the Catalytic Converter(s)
  • Inspect for Loose Gas Cap
  • Replace Evaporative Emissions Purge Control Valve
  • Replace mass airflow sensor
  • Replace evaporative emissions purge solenoid
  • Replace fuel injector(s)
  • Replace thermostat

Important things to keep in mind..

While the Check Engine Light is only one of many lights that could appear on your dash, don’t
confuse it with the service or maintenance required light, both are unrelated. In addition, the
check engine light could sometimes come on even when there is nothing wrong with the car.
Your car’s computer can sometimes get confused by changes in humidity for example. In such
cases, the light should turn off after a while.

All in all, don’t just ignore the check engine light. If you want your car to last and not leave you
stranded on the side of the road, it’s important to properly service it. You can get an inexpensive
code reader to diagnose the problem yourself or bring your car to a local Los Angeles mechanic
for a quick inspection. Our ASE certified professionals at Future Auto Service work on all types
of cars and brands. Equipped with the latest tools and technology, we are able to accommodate
all of your service needs at a great price. Browse our current service offerings and set up an
appointment HERE