When you see the check engine light come on in your car the first thing that comes to mind is this is going to be a costly problem. It could be a bad catalytic converter or something as simple as a loose gas cap. No matter what the problem is, one thing is for sure you will be visiting your local mechanic to diagnose the problem and get the necessary repairs.
The check engine light is also known as the malfunction indicator lamp or MIL which picks up a signal from the vehicles computer alerting you that something is wrong. In 1996 car manufactures made this system standardized which they called OBD II. This system would store any diagnostic trouble codes and required car manufactures to provide a universal connector so the computer could be accessed. The plug is usually located under the steering column of the vehicle.
If you are one that is mechanically inclined then you have the option of buying an inexpensive code reader that will connect into your OBD port. You can access your vehicles computer and see what code is triggering your check engine light to come on. On some readers you can even turn off the check engine light, but this does not fix the problem and usually the light will just come back on.
Make sure and not confuse the check engine light with the service required light. The service required light will come on when you are due for an oil change or other basic maintenance.
Your check engine light can come in different colors such as amber, yellow or orange depending on the vehicle manufacturer. If your check engine light begins to flash this can be a sign of a much more serious problem such as a misfire that can overheat the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter operates at very high temperatures and can be a fire hazard if it reaches high temperatures.
So if your check engine light comes on in your vehicle and it does not flash what should you do? You need to get to a mechanic as soon as possible to have the problem diagnosed. Avoiding the problem can result in costly repair bills that could have been avoided if taken care early on.