My check engine light is on -- what does it mean?

The list of things that can trigger the check engine light is pretty long. Anything from a loose gas cap to a faulty fuel injector can be to blame. Some other common reasons for your check engine light to come on might be:

  • A wet engine
  • Faulty oxygen sensors
  • Worn-out spark plugs or spark plug wires
  • Loose or cracked hoses and/or manifolds
  • Stick exhaust gas recirculation valves (commonly called EGR valves)
  • Pinched or deteriorated fuel-injector O-rings

We recommend starting with the gas cap. Check to make sure your gas cap is on correctly and give it a few more clicks to tighten it up. Drive the car for a little bit and sometimes, if you're lucky, this will solve the problem. If that doesn't work, bring your vehicle in to Metro Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and we can check it out for you. A few of the above items are inexpensive to fix. While others are more expensive, it's still important to get them taken care of.

While the car could be driving just fine while the check engine light is lit, you may be wasting fuel, putting out lots of pollution, or doing damage to the engine. In Ontario, you won't pass your emissions test if the check engine light is on.

Remember that a check engine light doesn't always mean that there is something wrong with your car. Your vehicle's onboard computer system has the ability to store codes, which means that if a component of your vehicle malfunctions - even just for a split second - it might be enough to turn on the check engine light even though the problem is not currently present. Your dealership will always do their best to try to determine what the most likely cause of a code may be, though this is not always as easy as it sounds.

It's important to not ignore the check engine light, and have your car checked out as soon as you can. If the light starts to flash, it may be too late! Flashing check engine lights mean that there is something fairly severe wrong with your vehicle. If this happens, we suggest you stop, shut your vehicle off, and call for a tow.