*If the check engine light comes on and its FLASHING and RED pull over! The owners manual is a valuable resource for all first defense information about your car and its warning systems.
CALL RYAN at 540 316 8677. He is not an "emergency road side" assistance mechanic but call him and we will schedule an appointment to have him come look at your car and get you back ON THE ROAD AGAIN!
*If the check engine light comes on and its not flashing and not red, the car is usually safe to continue to drive as long as your other gauges are in working order, such as the car isn't over heating and isn't out of oil. Drive the car home and get a diagnostic check done by a mechanic. Call Ryan!
According to most owners manuals, the check engine light is an indicator that something "odd" has occurred ranging from the gas cap being off to the catalyst being below efficiency as well as random misfires.
How do you fix the item(s) wrong with the check engine light indication?
*A mechanic has to do a diagnostic test to figure out which one of the many things it could be first, then correct it and tell the diagnostic system that its fixed and ok.
Note: contrary to popular belief the diagnostic tests do not tell the mechanic exactly what is wrong, it gives a code or two and from that, the mechanic needs to do further investigation about what EXACTLY is wrong and how to fix it.
When the light goes off by itself does this mean the problem is fixed?
*When the check engine light indicates something is wrong but the issue doesn't repeat itself for 2 or 3 drive cycles, the light will shut off.
Does this mean the problem is fixed? Yes, because sometimes the light is triggered by something random that does "fix" itself. Such as if you get a bad batch of gas, it messes with your O2 sensors or other "flukes" can happen to cause the light to be tripped. If it doesn't happen again, the light and message will clear.
What is a drive cycle? In general this means the average conditions of a "normal" drive which varies from car to car and they can range from "idle for 10 seconds and then drive at 40mph for 10 mins..." Each car is different.