You’re just cruising smoothly… then you notice a light on your dashboard that you haven’t seen before. It’s probably amber or red and shaped like your car’s battery; and it’s telling you to check your engine. But if the car’s humming along, what’s the problem?
Well, it could be one of hundreds of possibilities. Some are minor, some major. Modern cars have state-of-the-art computers that monitor all the systems in the vehicle. When the computer detects a problem somewhere, it will activate the warning light – the check engine light or sometimes it’s called the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL). The problem may be something as simple as a loose gas cap or as serious as a bad head gasket, which means pending major engine failure.
When any warning light is activated, immediately check your car’s temperature indicator gauge on your dashboard. If your car is running hotter than normal, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so. Driving with a hot engine can cause irreparable damage. If your check engine light is flashing, you need to get your vehicle checked right away! If it’s lit, but not flashing, and the car seems fine, you can try these steps:
- As soon as possible, inspect the things you can easily take care of yourself. For example, is your gas cap secure? If you correct a problem and the light goes off, continue to be very alert to your car’s condition when you drive it.
- Note what was happening when the check engine light came on. Were you accelerating? Braking? Did you feel the car shake? Was there any strange odor? This information could be helpful to your mechanic.
- If you can’t readily identify a problem, have your Best-One® dealer run a diagnostic check.
Our equipment can identify the fault code generated by your vehicle’s computer, and our excellent service personnel will provide a detailed diagnosis. The problem may be an easy, but important, fix or one that’s even covered by warranty!
By Nate Zolman, Best-One® Tire & Service Expert Panelist