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What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

check engine light on

Is your check engine light flashing? That’s definitely a reason for concern, but what does the check engine light mean? Whether it turns on in Florence or when you’re well beyond the borders of The Shoals, you should take that check engine light seriously — it can indicate a number of issues, ranging from simple fixes to more complex problems. Greenway Chevrolet Of The Shoals discusses potential causes of an illuminated check engine light, as well as how and when to reset a check engine light. 

Causes of an Illuminated Check Engine Light

Is your check engine light blinking or illuminated on the dashboard? Don’t panic! Many vehicle systems are controlled by computers, and when the onboard diagnostic system comes across an issue that it is unable to correct, the check engine light comes on. What does this mean? A check engine light can indicate something as simple as a loose gas cap, or it can alert you that your vehicle is in need of major repairs before you do any more driving around Northern Alabama. 

In some cars, if the check engine light is flashing, it may mean that an engine misfire has occurred. This can lead to a damaged catalytic converter, so you should bring your vehicle in for service as soon as possible. If the light is not blinking, it is usually not an emergency, but it is still a good idea to have your vehicle looked at by a professional if a loose gas cap is not the culprit.

Here are some of the most common causes of an illuminated check engine light:

  • Loose gas cap
  • Failing spark plugs
  • Oxygen sensor needs to be replaced
  • Faulty catalytic converter
  • Failing mass airflow sensor
  • Bad spark plug wires

Do not ignore the check engine light. Doing so could lead to costly damage in the long run, so it is best to have the issue addressed as soon as possible. 

How to Reset the Check Engine Light

Wondering how to reset a check engine light? This task should only be done if the issue has been resolved and the light remains on. Here is how to reset a check engine light in just a few simple steps. 

Disconnect the Negative Battery Cable

  1. Wear safety glasses and gloves, and turn off the ignition.
  2. Find the negative battery terminal. In most cases, it will have a black cap and a negative (–) symbol
  3. Loosen the nut on the negative terminal with a wrench. Take the negative connector off of the battery, and set it aside for 30 – 60 seconds.
  4. Reconnect the negative cable and tighten it back up with your wrench.

Keep in mind that when you disconnect the battery, it could reset the infotainment system in your vehicle. If your check engine light comes back on, there’s likely still a problem, and you should have an expert take a look.

Trust the Experts at Greenway Chevrolet Of The Shoals

If the check engine light has popped up on your dashboard, you can rely on the experts at the Greenway Chevrolet Of The Shoals service center to diagnose the issue and get it resolved in a timely manner. We want to make sure that your vehicle is safe for the roads of Corinth and Muscle Shoals. Contact us today for more information or if you have any questions.

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