When your check engine light comes on, it can mean anything from a loose gas cap to something serious. Here’s what to do when it comes on while driving:
Check your dashboard panel for signs of a serious problem.
Is the temperature gauge above normal (indicates overheating)? Does your car suddenly show low oil or any other oil related warning? If so, you should pull over immediately and call your mechanic. They can help you determine if you can drive to the shop or if a tow truck is needed.
Check your gas cap.
If it is loose, tighten and see if the check engine light disappears.
Check your trailer.
Reduce your speed, and if you are towing something, pull over and remove whatever you are pulling from your vehicle. If you are experiencing a loss of power, have the car checked as soon as possible to prevent serious engine damage.
If your vehicle has an Onstar subscription, they can often read the code remotely and tell you what the issue is, and how serious it may be. They can also help you determine if you can drive your vehicle in for service or if a tow truck is needed.
Don’t ignore it.
If the check engine light goes off while driving, don’t ignore it. When it does reappear, if you have been driving the vehicle without service or repair, the amount of additional damage you can do to your car or truck can be significant, and so can the price tag for repair.
Don’t add to the cost of your repair by ignoring or continuing to drive a car with a solid or blinking check engine light.