The Check Engine Light Has Switched Itself On and I'm Worried That Further Driving Will Damage My Engine

The last thing you want is to damage your car while driving. But if you're in the middle of a highway and the check engine light comes on, what should you do? Will you damage the engine if you drive a few miles further to the next gas station? The answer to this question can be tricky.

It's useful to know what kind of check engine light your car has.

  • Is it just an orange light or is there a red one as well?
  • Does the light flash when the situation is dire?
  • Does the light stay constant when the issue does not require your immediate attention?

Knowing how the check engine light functions in your car can help you understand what the car's diagnostic system communicates whenever it flashes or lights up. Check your car's manual to make sure you're familiar with its language.

When the frightful check engine light does comes on, stay calm. Reduce your speed and inspect how your vehicle is performing. Use all your senses to reassess if there is something strange or disturbing happening with your car.

  • Is it swerving, bucking, or surging?
  • Does it make any peculiar noises?
  • Is there any smoke or steam coming out from anywhere?

If the answers to these questions are no, then you can keep driving until you can stop safely and investigate properly, preferably with some assistance from a professional.

While serious engine issues are uncommon, it pays to be cautions. The check engine light could be on because your engine is misfiring or overheating. A misfire can mean that your vehicle will struggle on a steep incline or can be hazardous on a busy road. Repeated engine misfires can even impair your catalytic converter. Overheating can be dangerous, so the best solution is to stop as soon as possible and switch the engine off.

Once you stop safely, book an appointment with our engineer and bring your vehicle to Dickerson Automotive. We'll get your engine fixed!