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Most new vehicles come with a check engine light. These are useful, but are also tricky. When the check engine light comes on, it usually means there is something wrong with your car that needs your attention. Sometimes this light may even come on if you are very low on gas. If you have a newer car with this feature, know that it was made to make your life a little easier. Even though this helps keep you on top of things, there are times when the check engine light will pop on for something silly, and you may end up spending money on nothing.

This recently happened to a friend of mine, at the worst possible time. We were going on a road trip together, and she was getting her car inspected. She failed the inspection because her check engine light was on, and the mechanic could not figure out why. They gave her forty-five days to get it fixed and re-inspected, but as it turned out that wasn’t necessary. She had failed her test because of the check engine light, but the light was only lit because someone had not put her gas cap back on correctly.  

If your check engine light does come on, do some preliminary things before you go into the shop. Check your gas cap, and make sure you have gas in your vehicle. Also make sure all fluids are full. If none of these are a problem, then you should take your car in right away. Most shops have a machine that can hook up to your car and diagnose the problem that is being indicated by the check engine light. In most cases, the engine’s computer gives a code to the machine. The mechanic can then look up the code and figure out what is wrong with your car.

When your check engine light keeps coming on, but there appears to be nothing wrong with your car, you should make sure that problem gets taken care of immediately. If you drive about thinking the check engine light is coming on for no reason, you may be in for a shock. Even if it has false alarms, there may be a time when it comes on because there really is something wrong. To avoid the hassle of needless trips to the mechanic, make sure your check engine light is working as it should, and remember to treat each episode seriously to prolong the life of your car or truck.

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