What to Know About Your Check Engine Light

It happens from time to time. You’re driving from point A to point B, and then you notice a flickering light on your dashboard. As you look closer, you realize it’s your check engine light. But what does it mean? Ask the average person, and they won’t able to give a linear answer as to why this happens. The truth is, the check engine light can mean a variety of things, none of which can be determined unless a mechanic runs some diagnostic tests on your vehicle. In order to clear up this misunderstanding, we’ve consulted a few mechanics as to what causes this mysterious light to turn on from time to time. 

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Engine Problems

Today’s vehicles have complex machines that monitor almost every aspect of the powertrain. The engine is no exception. With so many moving parts working together in unison, a miscalculation can trigger one of the sensors to turn the check engine light on. 


Similar to the engine, your vehicle’s transmission is a highly complex instrument. By manipulating power and transferring it to the drive wheels, your vehicle is able to propel itself forward and shift gears. A problem with the transmission can also enact the check engine light to come on. 

Emission & Exhaust 

While not as complex as your vehicle’s engine or transmission, your emissions system has a variety of sensors and machines that detect the emissions that your vehicle produces. If one of these sensors detects a problem, your check engine light will come on. 

Air & Fuel Delivery Problems 

A certain amount of air and fuel are needed to properly your vehicle forward. Both of these have filters that keep deposits and debris out. If there’s a considerable problem with delivery or intake, this will usually cause problems if not taken care of immediately.


The ignition system works in conjunction with the air and fuel delivery to start your engine properly. The parts that make up your ignition system include the spark plugs and coils. If a sensor detects an issue with this system and it isn’t inspected right away, it can lead to larger problems down the road. 

It’s NOT the Oil 

A popular conception about the check engine light is that it comes on when oil is low. This is not the case. While oil plays an integral part in your engine’s operation, there’s usually a separate warning light letting you know when the oil level has been depleted by a considerable amount. 

Dave’s Auto Repair in Sarasota 

When the check engine light in your vehicle comes on, it’s a good idea to get it taken care of as soon as possible. The experts at Dave’s Auto Repair can properly diagnose what ails your vehicle and get you on the road with new feelings of peace of mind. For more information on us and our services, cruise to davesautosarasota.com.

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