Understanding Your Vehicle Indicator Lights

vehicle indicator lights

If you’re the owner of a vehicle, you probably do everything you can to keep it in top condition. You depend on the car you drive around Miami, and for that reason, spotting the vehicle malfunction indicator light–colloquially known as the check engine light–can cause you a lot of stress! However, as long as you respond quickly, there’s no reason to fret.

Although it’s important to get the service you need as soon as you notice a problem, there are certain cases in which this light may not indicate a larger issue. Get the information you need to drive safely, and get a better deal on your trade-in, with Florida Auto Imports today.

What Does My Vehicle Malfunction Indicator Light Mean?

Automobiles are some of the most complex machines that we interact with on a daily basis, and when there’s so much that can potentially go wrong, it’s no surprise that all vehicles feature an onboard diagnostics system (OBDII) to let you know when something’s out of place. However, since the vehicle malfunction indicator light can point to a variety of different problems, figuring out the real issue may take a little work. Here’s our guide to answering the question, “Why is my check engine light on?”

  1. You’ve heard it before: a loose gas cap, or an old cap that won’t seal properly, could force the check engine light to come on. Double check your cap before you start to worry.
  2. Are you due for an oil change? Your check engine light may come on if it’s time to replace your motor oil.
  3. In some cases, you may be able to get a better idea of the problem by listening for strange car noises or by identifying any fluids leaking from your vehicle. If something sounds or looks amiss, or if you notice strange fumes coming from your exhaust, you could be dealing with a real issue.
  4. In all cases, the best and quickest way to diagnose your problem is to take your vehicle into your local service center, choosing a location which specializes in your make, if possible. Thanks to their special tools and equipment, they’ll be able to plug into your vehicle, read the diagnostic codes, and give you a precise answer right away.

An engine misfire, a bad spark plug, a failing seal, or a malfunctioning sensor could all be among the problems that cause your vehicle malfunction indicator light to come on. If you recently changed your oil at home, your light may require a hard reset.

In some cases, your check engine light might flash or blink, instead of simply remaining illuminated. In these cases, you’ll want to get into a local service center as soon as you can. You might have a problem with your catalytic converter, and those that aren’t repaired quickly can be very expensive to replace.

What is the Vehicle Emission Indicator Light?

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that vehicle emissions are a big deal, and if you’re concerned about your own impact on the environment, you’re certainly not alone! Most modern vehicles include a wide variety of onboard diagnostics to let you know when your vehicle’s emission systems are malfunctioning. Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive, a problem with your emission system could be indicated in one of two ways:

  1. Your vehicle may possess a separate vehicle emission indicator light, which will light up whenever you’re emitting more toxins and negative compounds than you should.
  2. In vehicles without a separate vehicle emission indicator light, your check engine light will be the one to light up when you’re experiencing an emissions problem. In this event, drivers who think they may be experiencing an emissions issue should check for other common problems, as detailed above, before visiting their local service center.

In almost all cases, it is safe to drive when your vehicle emission indicator light is on. That said, we don’t recommend it. If you’re ignoring these problems, you’re contributing to declining air quality, in your community and beyond.

Get More Tips from Florida Auto Imports

Here at Florida Auto Imports near Miami, we’re dedicated to helping our neighbors get more out of every drive. Whether you’re wondering about the ins and outs of luxury car care,  you want to know more about interior detailing, or you’re simply curious about new Porsche accessories, you can find the info you’re looking for on the Florida Auto Imports blog. Contact us today!

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735 W. Broward Blvd. • Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

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Florida Auto Imports

735 W. Broward Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL

Phone: 954-982-2866



Phone: 954-982-2866

735 W. Broward Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL
26.1221566 -80.1537873
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Florida Auto Imports
Florida Auto Imports
735 W. Broward Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33312 US
Florida Auto Imports 26.1221566, -80.1537873.