How To Fix a Chevrolet Check Engine Light
Many people are confused by the check engine light. Others completely ignore it in the hopes that it will go away on its own, while some panic as soon as it lights up. One of the tricky aspects of diagnosing and fixing the cause of a check engine light on a Chevy or other vehicle is that many things can cause it, sometimes even multiple things at once. Let’s investigate in more detail how to fix a Chevrolet check engine light and anything else you should know.
Why Does My Chevy Have a Check Engine Light?Modern cars use computers to handle a wide range of functions, from guaranteeing perfect ignition timing to managing fuel and airflow into the engine. When minor errors like an improper air-to-fuel ratio occur, the computer will adjust, and you shouldn’t see any dash lights. However, when the check engine light comes on, it means there’s an engine problem that the computer can regulate to some degree but cannot resolve. The most common causes of a Chevy check engine light coming on are:
- Emissions system malfunction.
- Loose or nonfunctioning gas cap.
- Damaged or faulty oxygen sensor.
- One or more crankshaft sensor issues.
- Faulty catalytic converter.
- Defective spark plugs.
The check engine light is more of a warning that your vehicle has at least one issue than an indication of what’s causing it, so it’s important to take further steps to diagnose the problem. You can do this with a code reader in some cases, or you may need to take your vehicle to a qualified Chevy service center in Boardman.
If you want a quick gauge of how serious the problem may be, you can try resetting your Chevy check engine light. If it comes back on soon after, it’s likely a pressing concern, and you should minimize your driving until you have the issue diagnosed by an expert.
How To Reset a Check Engine Light on a Chevy
If your Chevy’s check engine light hasn’t turned off after regular use and turning the vehicle on and off a few times, it may be time to try a manual reset. First, turn the car on, let the engine idle for about five seconds, and then turn it off. Repeat this step a few times. If this doesn’t cause your check engine light to go away, you can try several other things, but it’s helpful to try that first.
The more thorough option is to reset the check engine light through the battery. With your car’s ignition off and while wearing any necessary safety gear, locate your car battery’s negative terminal, which should have a negative symbol and a black cap. Take the connecter off using a wrench to loosen the nut. Be sure the negative battery wire is firmly secured from any metal or the other terminal to prevent sparking.
Then, carefully reverse the steps and reattach the negative cable. When you finish tightening the top nut, make sure you also have correctly placed the cap. Turn your car back on and try driving for a few minutes. If the check engine light doesn’t come back on, you at least know something minor might’ve triggered it. If it comes back on immediately or soon after you start driving again, there may be a more serious problem that needs expert attention.
What Exactly Are Chevrolet Diagnostic Light Codes?
It can be startling when a little light on the dashboard suddenly turns on. These lights on your dashboard are called diagnostic trouble codes. As the name suggests, they warn you of a potential problem, but not always a definite or severe one. Usually, the color indicates their seriousness, like green or yellow for minor issues and orange or red for dangerous problems.
These automotive computer codes are known as onboard diagnostics. There are different codes for airbag issues, your oil system, and more. It pays for you to recognize and immediately respond to any orange or red lights. Always seek professional assistance after spotting one of the following diagnostic lights:
- Battery trouble indicator.
- Brake trouble indicator.
- Engine temperature indicator.
- Airbag warning indicator.
- Security breach indicator.
- Electronic power steering trouble indicator.
- Electronic parking brake indicator.
These are only a few of the riskiest lights to ignore, and you might see many others. If you don’t have substantial automotive knowledge, you mustn’t assume what codes signify or whether a code might go away by itself. The longer you leave a potential problem with your Chevy unattended, the more likely it is to add up to a more dangerous incident or costly repair job.
Is It Safe To Drive With Your Chevy Check Engine Light On?
If the check engine light on your Chevrolet is flashing, don’t drive it any further. But what if it’s just staying on? Common sense and caution are important here. If you haven’t had issues while driving your Chevy and you notice the check engine light turn on when nothing has happened, you don’t necessarily need to find the closest shoulder or exit as if you had blown a tire. However, we advise you to get your Chevy warning lights diagnosed as soon as possible. That way, you can get service if you need it or stop worrying if you don’t.
If the issue is straightforward, like a loose gas cap, it should be safe to continue driving. If you’re worried about the health of your engine or other components for any reason, don’t risk it. In general, you can be more confident about how long you can drive your Chevy while the check engine light is on if you know you’ve stayed on top of oil changes and other important maintenance.
Always monitor your engine light when it turns on. You can try resetting it manually if you don’t think it’s too serious. If you’d rather be certain and maintain peace of mind, you can always take your vehicle to our expert auto shop. Sweeney Chevrolet is proud to make owning and maintaining Chevy vehicles completely headache-free. So, give us a call or visit if you’re anywhere near Boardman, Ohio.