Should You Pull Over If Your Check Engine Light Comes On?

A check engine light can be a frightening thing. If this warning light comes on you need to be sure it’s safe to continue to drive. Find out how to determine the severity of this warning light today. From emergency repairs to simple maintenance, like finding the windshield wipers size, be sure your vehicle is operating safely and effectively.

How To Safely Pull Over When Your Check Engine Light Turns on

Before you immediately pull over, use these steps to determine whether it’s an immediate emergency or a maintenance issue that can wait until your commute is over. Here are the common signs that you need to pull over immediately:

  • Blinking or solid red check engine light
  • Stuttering or other unusual engine performance
  • Smoke or foul odors
  • High oil temperature
  • Loud grinding or other sounds

If you experience any of these, turn on your hazard lights and carefully pull over to the side of the road. Slow down before you pull onto the shoulder of the road to prevent sliding and losing control of your vehicle. Don’t pull off until you are in a safe area to do so.

Other check engine light issues may not be as serious. If your light turns on and you don’t experience any of these symptoms, you may still be safe to continue to drive. Many check engine issues still cause fuel inefficiencies or increase the chance of a damaged component, so only continue driving until you reach your destination. Once you’re at work or home, try to identify the source of the warning light before frequent driving.

Why Your Check Engine Light Might Have Turned on

There are a wide range of issues that are all connected to this warning light. Because many don’t require immediate attention, consider having your error code read. Pick up an error code reader or stop by an auto parts store to find out the source of the warning. Here are the top five causes of this warning:

  • Damaged oxygen sensor
  • Clogged catalytic converter
  • Loose gas cap
  • Compromised spark plugs
  • Dirty or damaged mass air flow sensor

Thankfully, these are all easy repair tasks to perform in your own garage. Pick up replacement sensors or a catalytic converter and prepare for a simple replacement to restore the fuel efficiency and horsepower of your vehicle. If this repair doesn’t remove the check engine light, check the error code again for more information.

These common issues can affect the performance of your engine but don’t require you to immediately pull over. Once you determine the source of the error code, find the replacement parts and tools you need from a reliable auto parts store near you or by shopping online.

Whether you need a windshield wiper replacement or a new catalytic converter, use these steps to be sure you’re driving safely. When in doubt, find a place to safely pull over your vehicle until you can check the error code. Don’t continue to drive your vehicle if you experience any major issues, but don’t panic if your check engine light is on with no visible performance issues.

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