Is It Safe to Drive with the Check Engine Light On?

When It’s Time to Visit the Auto Shop

If your vehicle’s check engine light is on, you might be wondering if it’s safe to keep driving. Evan’s Auto Care in Cincinnati, Ohio, has your back. Our team is here to help you understand when it’s okay to keep driving and when you need to head to the auto shop or call for a tow.

Steady Light

In most cases, the check engine light looks like an outline of an engine with the words “CHECK ENGINE.” It may also say “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” or “MAINTENANCE REQUIRED.” The warning icon on the dashboard will appear yellow-orange and when it’s not flashing, it’s alerting you to a simple problem somewhere in the vehicle. It could be anything from a faulty oxygen sensor to a loose gas cap. It may also indicate something more severe, like a failing catalytic converter.

A steady light doesn’t need to be handled immediately. It’s an early warning from your vehicle, giving you a heads up to visit the auto repair shop soon. It’s best to make an appointment with the professionals at your earliest convenience because early action will prevent the issue from worsening and causing further damage to the vehicle. You don’t have to drop everything and drive to the nearest repair shop, but you shouldn’t put off the service for long.

Flashing Light

When there is a severe problem with the vehicle, the check engine light will look different. Usually, it will start flashing, but it may also change to a red color to indicate a more significant issue. A flashing light on the dashboard should be your indication to stop driving. Your vehicle could enter limp mode or breakdown. We recommend pulling over somewhere safe and calling for a tow.

A steady check engine light may evolve into a flashing one if it is not handled promptly. Ignoring a problem could cause it to worsen and affect other components. That means the repairs will be more extensive (and costly) than before. You can save yourself money, stress, and time by handling a steady check engine light promptly before it starts flashing.

Schedule Service

Now that you know more about the check engine light and when it’s safe to keep driving, you can also make the right decision for your vehicle and visit Evan’s Auto Care in Cincinnati, Ohio at the first sign of trouble. We are here to prevent problems from worsening.

Written by Evan Brodof

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