What Does the Check Engine Light Really Mean?

December 1st, 2018 by

Check Engine light on speedometer

You turn on your car and the check engine light turns on. Not good. Everyone dreads this happening because they think it means that they’re about to have to pay for some repairs. There can be a variety of reasons that your engine light turns on, but it’s not something you should just ignore. Today in the Thompson Sales blog, we’ll talk about some reasons that your check engine light might turn on.

Why Does the Check Engine Light Turn On?

The check engine light turns on when your car’s computer detects something that needs attention. Sometimes the check engine light will be static, other times it will be blinking. A blinking check engine light is definitely more urgent, so you’ll want to get this checked out right away, while a static check engine light can be checked at your earliest convenience. Just keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more potential damage you might be doing to your car. 

Try Tightening Your Gas Cap First

Before you do anything, tighten your gas cap. Sometimes your car’s computer registers the gas cap being open or loose as the car releasing more vapor than usual. Tightening your gas cap could be your solution and it’ll save you a trip to the repair shop. If this doesn’t work, then you most likely have an actual problem. 

What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

Your check engine light will have a code that indicates where the potential problem might be. This helps your auto repair professional diagnose the problem. There are a few reasons that a check engine light might turn on. Here are the most common reasons:


  • Loose Gas Cap


  • Spark plugs
  • Oxygen sensor
  • Mass Airflow Sensor
  • Catalytic Converter



All of these issues are best handled by a professional unless you’re extremely handy with vehicles. Remember, you don’t want to let these issues go on for long because, if left unchecked, you could be looking at a much more expensive repair. 

Choose Thompson Sales for Your Automotive Needs

When your check engine light comes on, don’t wait to make an appointment at Thompson Sales. Our dedicated service department will be happy to help you out, diagnose the problem, and make your car good as new. Looking for a new or used vehicle? We can help out with that too! Check out our inventory online or come on in and see what we have on our lot.

Posted in Car Repair