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Check Engine Light

What does the Check Engine light mean? Find out at your local Midas.

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You’re not always happy to see it, but the Check Engine light is an important cue about a problem in your engine, exhaust system, or battery. You may need help to decipher the cue because it’s part of the OBD System. In modern vehicles, the ODB system monitors your emissions system and triggers the Check Engine light for a variety of issues, from the fuel cap to the catalytic converter.

So don’t ignore the Check Engine light. Midas Technicians speak ODB II, and we’ll translate your Check Engine light’s message. We’ll tell you what’s happening with your engine or emissions system, and provide a written estimate before making any needed repairs.

Why is my check engine light on?

The check engine light usually indicates a need to replace one or more parts of your engine or exhaust system: the oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, mass airflow sensor or spark plugs and wires. It can also indicate a loose or faulty gas cap, a vacuum leak, an exhaust gas recirculation valve failure, a dead battery, or a problem with an aftermarket car alarm.

A solid Check Engine light should be diagnosed at your earliest convenience. A flashing Check Engine light should send you right to your nearest service station -- the problem may be urgent.

Is it OK if my Check Engine light comes on briefly at startup?

All dash indicator lights turn on and then off when the car starts as a quick system check. This on-off behavior also shows your service technician which bulbs may be burned out.

What do I do if the check engine light is on?

How to respond to a Check Engine Light depends on your vehicle and how the light behaves:

  • If your Check Engine light is flashing, you should pull over and call for a tow -- driving could endanger your engine and catalytic converter.
  • If your Check Engine light was flashing but is now solid, you should still have your vehicle serviced immediately.
  • If your Check Engine light is steady, have a mechanic examine the vehicle as soon as possible; there are many reasons the light may be on.
  • If your Check Engine light is still solid after your service appointment, it’s OK to wait a few days to see if it turns off. If not, contact your local Midas to make sure your vehicle’s issue was resolved.
  • One possible quick fix: Check for a loose fuel cap. If the Check Engine light turns off after tightening the cap, you’re ready to roll.

How much does Check Engine Light diagnosis cost?

Based on U.S. pricing trends before discounts and promotions, it costs $80-$120 to have your check engine light diagnosed depending on your vehicle and location. There will be additional costs to repair any problems diagnosed along the way.

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