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  • Johnson's Automotive

What to Do if Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Updated: May 16

Most car owners dread seeing the check engine light come on. Even if you're not sure what it specifically means, you know in general that something is probably wrong with your vehicle. According to, over three-quarters of all surveyed cars were in need of maintenance or repairs. Maintenance and repairs are often ignored or put off till later in hopes of saving a few bucks but, in the long run, this only winds up costing you more money. Let's learn more about the check engine light and look at three things you should do when your check engine light comes on.

What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

If you're new to car ownership, you might not be aware of what the check engine light signifies. The check engine light will light up when there is a malfunction (large or small) in the vehicle. The check engine light could indicate something that is easy to fix or something catastrophic. A yellow or amber-colored light just indicates a malfunction, while a red flashing light indicates something major has gone wrong and that you need to have the vehicle looked at immediately. This is why it's so important to never ignore this light. Here are three things you should do if you notice this light.

Pay Close Attention to the Car

You should stay calm but start paying close attention to how the car feels while driving. Does the engine feel weak or sluggish? Is the car making weird noises? Has the vehicle stopped? Do you smell smoke or strange smells? Whatever information you can gather now will help with the diagnosis later.

Slow Down

You should definitely slow down so that you can evaluate the vehicle more closely. It's best to drive to a nearby service center or auto repair shop. Also keep a close eye on your other gauges to make sure you your vehicle is not overheating or showing signs of additional issues.

Stop if Flashing

If your check engine light is flashing, then you should find the closest safe spot to pull off. You don't need to rush or endanger yourself, but you do need to get the vehicle off the road as quickly as you safely can. You should turn off the engine. If you smell or see smoke, immediately get out of the vehicle and move a safe distance away. Contact one the local, trusted auto repair shops immediately to have your vehicle seen.

If your check engine light has come on and you're searching for auto repair shops, please contact Johnson's Automotive Repair today. Our team of highly trained professionals can help you with your automotive needs.

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