Engine Check Light: Meaning and Solution

Many people tend to panic when the engine check lights on and some continues their journey without finding out what could be cause of the engine check light. What does it mean when the engine check light is on? Is it okay to ignore the light?

The check engine light is a signal that the onboard diagnostic system (or OBD II) has detected a malfunction in the vehicle's emissions, ignition, fuel or exhaust system.. The engine check lights are in two different categories, the first one is when the light blinks in color yellow and the second one when it goes it orange or the reddish color in some cars. Both colors give a different warning that you should be careful of if you are driving a car.

Seeing the engine check light in yellow should not stress you immediately, rather you should consider taking your car for a diagnostic test. The red/orange light means the problem is serious and it needs to be checked immediately. Both warnings are very important but if you are on the road, you can continue with the yellow light but not the red/orange one.

What are the possible causes of the Engine check lights? (source: Driveway website)

1.     Loose or faulty gas cap
The lines and valves in your gas tank system recirculate gasoline vapors and keep them from escaping. If the gas cap is loose, this little detail alone will quickly trigger the “check engine” light. One of the more easily addressed issues associated with the CEL, a faulty or missing gas cap may cause you lose fuel due to evaporation or your fuel system to fail to circulate properly. 

2.     Worn spark plugs
Your spark plugs ignite a mixture of fuel and air to create combustion and power your engine’s cylinders. If they’re not firing right, this can cause an engine misfire which can increase hydrocarbon emissions and cause weaker performance of your engine. 

3.     Faulty catalytic converter 
The catalytic converter changes carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, helping protect the environment. A faulty one will reduce fuel economy and performance and increase your emissions, potentially keeping you from passing emissions tests. Simply replacing it usually isn’t the solution, as the cause of a catalytic converter failure is usually caused by something else, like a blown head gasket, which can force burnt coolant vapor into your vehicle’s exhaust. 

4.     Dirty or faulty mass airflow sensor 
To determine how much fuel is needed to run the engine, the amount of air that’s entering the engine has to be measured. That’s the job of the mass airflow sensor (MAS). The MAS is susceptible to oil and dirt buildup, so a cleaning might do the trick. If not, it may need to be replaced. If the air-to-fuel ratio is off, this can cause failures in other areas of the engine and certainly lead to reduced performance and lowered fuel economy. 


The problems above can be fixed by yourself if somehow you are stuck somewhere and if you have knowledge in how to fix some of those problems in emergency situations. The real solution should come from the certified mechanic as they are to use diagnostic machine to detect the real problem and get it fixed.In case you are stuck somewhere and you are looking for a mechanic to come and rescue you, use this number to contact Chibiso Motors +265999567317 or email at info@chibisomotors.com.

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