Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

The AutoAid Guide to Dashboard Warning Lights Part 1

If you drive a car, you know about dashboard warning lights. Of these, the Check Engine light is one of the most infamous, and here at AutoAid we get daily calls from perplexed drivers with this mysterious light. “Check engine light” is also ranked among the most popular internet search terms for anything car care related. Modern cars, however, have a variety of warning lights you may catch a glimpse of when you start your car. These are lights for tire pressure, cooling system warnings, engine oil warnings, and more. So, if one of these lights illuminates, what should you do? Keep driving? Panic? Call a tow truck? Should you stop driving where you are, or is it okay to to “limp home?” Could you keep driving for a few more days, or weeks? Let’s tackle some of the most common warning lights below.

Check Engine – Flashing vs. Solid

We have all seen the dreaded Check Engine Light. This warning light can be an indicator of many different problems, which you probably knew, but you may not have known that there is a difference between a flashing check engine light, and a solid lit one.

If your check engine light comes on and stays on, this means a problem has happened more than once, and this is usually related to the emissions system. It is not an emergency, but check it out soon. Sometimes a check engine light will vanish on its own. Other times, they need to be cleared by a technician, and don’t appear again. It’s becoming more well known now that a common reason we see this light is a fuel evap leak, usually caused by a loose or damaged gas cap. Many places will read the code and clear a check engine light for you for free, so get it checked when you can.

If this light is flashing, however this is an urgent warning. A flashing check engine light indicates a serious problem, and while it’s flashing, you are actually damaging to your engine. If you see this light flashing, your engine is probably misfiring, one or more cylinders are not providing power, and raw fuel may be running into the catalytic converter. Can you limp home? Sure, if it isn’t far, but you should have the experts at AutoAid check it out immediately, before it turns into a costlier repair.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we discuss other common and important dashboard lights.

For more essential car care knowledge, stay tuned to the blog here at AutoAid of Van Nuys, CA, and if you have a dashboard light puzzling you, contact us online or call (818) 305-6632.


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