You’ve probably had your Check Engine Light go on. Then it goes off and you figure, hey, whatever the problem was, it’s gone now and I don’t have to worry about it. Well, the problem may have gone away and it may not have.
Your vehicle likely has one of these warning lights on the instrument panel: an amber light that looks like an engine or reads “Check Engine” or “Service Vehicle Soon.” If that light comes on and stays on, it usually means there’s something amiss but not urgently in need of service. (Now if it’s blinking, that’s another story that we’ll deal with in a minute.)
Sometimes when it comes on and stays steadily lit, the problem will go away and the light will go out. Sometimes it will stay on until you get the problem fixed. Either way, the engine’s computer will store a code that can provide clues to what’s not working—or wasn’t working—the way it’s supposed to.
If you are just dying to know what that code is, you can buy a little code reader or take your vehicle to an auto parts store and they’ll read it. Problem is, the code offers so many options that unless you are a trained technician, you probably won’t have a clue what those codes mean.
So if you want to be sure, take it to your vehicle repair facility and have them check it. Technicians are trained to decipher the codes and, using their experience and other diagnostic equipment, can get to the root of the problem and fix it.
As we mentioned before, if that Check Engine light comes on and is blinking, it means a more serious engine malfunction that can damage expensive components such as the catalytic converter and even the engine itself. It’s important to have that checked by a professional as soon as possible.