Stop Ignoring Your Car’s Check Engine Light Right Now!

A stock photo of a check engine light on a gauge.

How Bad is a Check Engine Light?

Automotive diagnostic technology has reached a point where many modern vehicles can tell the owner that something is going wrong almost before it actually happens. The key to this capability is for drivers and vehicle owners to heed these warnings. One of the most common issues we see at the Fifth Avenue Volkswagen Service Department is a customer with an activated check engine light. Every vehicle built in the last 40-plus years has a series of warning lights on the dashboard. None strikes as much fear into the hearts of owners as the much-feared Check Engine Light. Let’s take a look at some of the potential causes or potential dangers of seeing and ignoring this warning.

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What Causes a Check Engine Light to Turn On?

An activated Check Engine light doesn’t point to a single issue or necessarily even that there is a problem with the engine. Additionally, the light doesn’t even necessarily point to the severity of the issue. That’s why it’s so important not to ignore this warning and make an appointment with the Fifth Avenue VW Service Department as soon as possible. Some of the most common causes of a Check Engine Light to activate include:

  • A loose or improperly fitting gas cap
  • Failing or damaged catalytic converter
  • Broken oxygen sensor
  • Bad ignition and/or spark plugs
  • Disabled emission control system
  • Clogged or damaged fuel injectors
  • Defective thermostat

Is This an Expensive Repair?

Because there is no one cause for a Check Engine Line to come on, there is no accurate way to determine how much it will cost to fix the issue. If the problem is as simple as a loose gas cap, the fix is free and the cap just needs to be screwed on properly. However, if the problem has something to do with the catalytic converter, the repair costs could be more than $1,000. 

Even if you need the actual work done by one of our expert service technicians, you may be able to diagnose the problem at home. Every vehicle sold in North America for a very long time is equipped with an OBD-II port that will accept a code reader. These devices are very affordable and simple to use. Owners can use this tool to determine the severity of the problem before making an appointment with our service team.

How Far Can You Drive With a Check Engine Light On?

Because the reasons for an activated Check Engine Light are so varied, there isn’t a safe or reasonable distance a vehicle can be driven when it comes on. It is pretty easy for a small automotive issue to become a major automotive problem very quickly. There really is no way to overstress the importance of not ignoring this warning. It’s best to address an active check engine light as soon as possible.

Make an appointment with the Fifth Avenue VW Service Department today if you’ve been ignoring a clear warning sign that your vehicle needs some expert attention.