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What to Do When Your Car’s Check Engine Light Comes on?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 13/02/2024

There are several indicators and signs given on your car’s dashboard that signal different things. Some of them are to indicate low fuel, others to indicate directions. But one crucial warning indicator about which you need to know is “car check engine light”.

It is a crucial indicating light that signals about possible trouble in your vehicle. But why does this light go on, and what can you do if it goes on?

Here, you will get to know about possible reasons for the engine indicator going on and solutions for this.

What Does Engine Indicator Light Mean?

The car engine indicator light notifies the driver that there is some kind of malfunction in the car. This light can be of different colours like orange, red or yellow, depending on the car model you have.

Every time you turn on the ignition, the diagnostic system runs several tests to determine the performance of the vehicle. If any malfunctions are found, then the car engine warning light comes on in two ways; these are:

Steady Check Engine Light: It means some emission or safety-related issues have occurred. Steady light means that the problem is manageable.

Check Engine Light Blinking: The blinking engine indicator notifies about severe system issues. It can be related to engine components, fuel or air induction systems. In this state, you need to get mechanical assistance as soon as possible.

Reasons Why Car Check Engine Light Comes On

Lax Fuel Cap: This is the most common reason why a car yellow engine light comes on. The fuel cap is an essential component of a car’s fuel system; it prevents any fuel fumes from leaking out and also ensures correct pressure is maintained.

In most cases, people leave the cap loose after refuelling the vehicle, because of which, the engine indicator turns on. If your fuel cap has become loose, then you can also buy a new one from any mechanic.

Spark Plug Issue: Faulty or worn-out spark plugs can make your car check engine light come on. Under heavy acceleration, it can misfire and create problems.

It is advisable to invest in installing quality spark plugs in your vehicle; it is a long-lasting part if installed correctly and suitable plugs are used.

Cheap Spark Plug Wires: Just like lousy spark plugs can turn on your car engine warning light, bad quality spark plug wires can, too.

These wires are the transferors of electricity from the coil to the spark plug; if they do not work correctly, the fuel and air mixture in the cylinders will not torch. Thus, make sure that genuine quality spark plug wires are used in the vehicle.

Vacuum Leak: The vacuum system of a car has several functions, so its ill performance can trigger the engine indicator of your car.

Moreover, if your vehicle is too old and has been put in extreme heat and cold conditions, then your vacuum hose may have broken. It can lead to malfunction and cause driving issues, too.

Battery Issue: The battery is an essential component of your car that helps it run; any battery-related issue, like a dead battery, can cause the car’s check engine light to come on. In most old models, these batteries are usually of less power and inadequate quality and run out quickly.

However, if you have bought a new model, then you must have gotten a powerful battery with a longer life span. Still, it is crucial to get regular check-ins from your car mechanic.

What to Do If Car Engine Warning Light Comes On?

If you are worried about your car engine warning light coming on and can not get access to a mechanic immediately, then here are a few things that you can do:

Tighten Fuel Cap: As mentioned earlier, a loose fuel cap is one of the most common reasons the engine indicator turns on. So, step out of your vehicle and check your fuel cap once. If it is loose, tighten it or buy a new one in case of a faulty fuel cap.

Reduce the Load and Speed: In case your check engine light is blinking, then it is a severe issue. In such cases, try to reduce the burden on the engine.

Drive at low speed to reduce taxing the engine power, and if you have any towed trailer attached, then remove it, too. Moreover, connect with a mechanic as soon as possible.

Check Other Indicators: If your car's yellow engine light has come on, then it is more likely that your car’s other indicators are on, too. Check what other indicators have come on and judge the damage accordingly.

It can be low oil pressure, overheating, fuel tank issues or any other thing. If that is the case, then it is advised to park your vehicle at a safe place and step out of it immediately.

Utilise Built-In Diagnostics: In several new model cars, there is a built-in diagnostic system that runs tests to check any trackable issue and sends a service request appointment immediately. It is helpful in case of emergency or when you cannot find any mechanic immediately.

Final Words

Now you know what can be the reasons for your car’s check the engine light coming on and some ways you can solve this problem. However, sometimes the issues could be more understandable behind the blinking or light or even if you understand you cannot fix it yourself.

In such cases, you need to call a mechanic, who will diagnose and tell you the issue in your car; these can be some severe and taxing problems. To avoid denting your pocket from repair or damage expenses, you can buy insurance for a four-wheeler while buying a new car.

A car insurance policy is an excellent protection against any financial liability that you might face in case of damage or accident of a car. Tata AIG has car insurance online that you can buy from your home itself and get insurance benefits like cashless damage repair, theft insurance, third-party damage cover and no claim bonus.

Additionally, you can use our car insurance calculator to get accurate quotes for your insurance premium, saving you time and helping you make informed decisions regarding policy purchases.


Why is my check engine light flashing and my car shaking?

The engine light flashing indicates a severe issue in the emission system of the car. Moreover, if your car is shaking too, it means a misfire has happened, and unburnt fuel is getting into your exhaust system, shaking the engine.

What if I ignore the engine indicator light and run the car as usual?

Ignoring the car check engine light coming on can lead to some severe issues in your car. The car engine might suffer more damage, and you have to incur more costs for its repair. Moreover, you might also fail your vehicle health test, leading to getting penalised by a traffic officer.

Can I drive the car when the car engine warning light is on?

It depends on your car’s condition. If your car is shaking violently, making weird sounds and causing difficulty driving even at a lower load, then it is advised to come off your vehicle immediately.

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