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What to Do if Your Check Engine Light Comes On

You're driving along, jamming to one of your favorite songs. Then you notice it appear on your dash — the dreaded check engine light. Should you pull over right away and contact a mechanic or take a chance and hope you reach your destination?

Frankly, you should probably do something in between those extremes. While you probably don't need to pull over the second you notice the indicator, you should get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. Let's take a closer look at what to do when the check engine light comes on.

Look for a serious problem that warrants immediate attention

First and foremost, you want to rule out potential disaster. Look closely at your dash gauges and lights for any signs of low oil pressure or overheating. Should your vehicle exhibit these conditions, pull over and shut off the engine before calling for help.

Try tightening the gas cap

Believe it or not, this happens from time to time. A driver stops for gas but fails to tighten their gas cap accordingly. Just know that it might take several trips before the check engine light resets.

Reduce speed and load

Let's say you're towing a trailer across the country. The check engine light coming on could be the byproduct of additional demands on your vehicle's engine. In this situation, you may want to try reducing your speed and seeing if the check engine light goes away after a while.

Still noticing performance problems even after reducing your speed? Then there's a good chance something else is going on.

Use built-in diagnostic services

Many of today's cars feature integrated remote diagnostic capabilities with the ability to report on trouble codes and even schedule a service appointment if necessary. So if you purchase a Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, or Volvo recently, there's a good chance your vehicle has built-in diagnostic services. Unfortunately, drivers with older vehicles don't have this kind of luxury.

Hassle-Free Oil Changes and More

A vehicle with a faulty engine is going to break down sooner rather than later. That's why it's so important to stay current with engine auto maintenance from a reliable mechanic. Here at The Shop Automotive, our technicians specialize in various engine services, including the following:

  • Oil changes – If you want your car or truck to last for years to come, get in the habit of taking it in for an oil change every 3,000 miles. At The Shop Automotive, we are proud to be Boulder's choice for oil changes. Stop by and let our team get your vehicle up and running to optimal performance once again.
  • Oil filters – Can't remember the last time you replaced your oil filter? It could be old, faulty, or missing altogether. Whatever the case, turn to The Shop for quick, reliable service.
  • Engine tune-ups – Maybe it just feels like something isn't right with your engine. Not to worry, as our mechanics will get to the core of the problem and get you back to enjoying a smooth ride.

The next time your check engine light comes on, come by The Shop Automotive and let us put your mind at ease. Contact our Boulder auto shop today with any questions.