Learn to Trust That “Check Engine” Light
My first car, in the last two years of its life, had a bright orange square lit up on the dash that read “Serv. Eng. Soon.” That light, along with telltale signs like the sound of my engine, let me know that my car was on and functioning properly.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get it serviced multiple times. When you’re a teenager and something is wrong with your first car, you take it seriously. Well, I know I took it pretty seriously at least.
After a couple of inspections with our family mechanic and a replaced CPU later, though, I stopped worrying. There was nothing we could do and nothing really seemed to be wrong.
I’ve found that something similar to this tends to happen to most other drivers I know, too. It’s why you won’t hear a dramatic scream every time someone mentions that their “check engine” light came on. It’s generally met with “oh, better get that looked at soon.”
After all, it can’t be that big of a deal if your car still feels the same, right?
This kind of jaded attitude toward your car’s warnings doesn’t always work out so well, though. Sure, it may save you a few dollars and a trip to the mechanic now, but sometimes the issue can be something serious, even if your car still feels the same.
When that dreaded light came on in my second car, I was a bit worried as this was a pretty new car. That it turned back off the next time I drove had me dismissing any service needs entirely.
Then it came on again, and it stayed on. Of course, since it felt the same to drive, I wasn’t too worried. Then the light started flashing.
Flash-forward to about $500 in parts and labor later, and my car’s engine is nice and happy. While it’s true that your “check engine” light can come on for a variety of reasons, some of which can actually be pretty trivial, you run the risk of doing expensive damage to your car if you don’t get it checked out.