The check engine light on your car’s dashboard could come on for many reasons. While this light sometimes indicates that you need professional auto repair, it can also signal relatively minor problems, such as if you forget to place the gas cap back on. Here is a brief guide about this important feature. 

What Is the Check Engine Light?

Usually, this light is orange or yellow. When it illuminates, it may take the shape of an engine or show the word “check” on the dashboard. Because this light can signal many issues, manufacturers use several ways to help you identify the cause. For example, if it flashes, the problem is more serious and typically affects the engine components. In some models, the light becomes red when you need immediate auto repair.

Whenever the light comes one, investigate the issue. This will help you determine if you are receiving the proper gas mileage and filtering emissions, ensuring the vehicle runs well. The only exception is if the light flashes briefly when you start the car, as this is an automatic system check and not a cause for concern. 

auto repair

What Are the Common Causes?

A common issue that you can fix without visiting an auto repair shop is a loose gas cap. When the cap is not fully tightened, vapor leaks out, which negatively impacts your fuel economy and triggers the check engine light.

Alternatively, a more serious problem is an engine misfire, which means the car is dumping fuel into the exhaust system before it can combust, damaging the catalytic converter. This light may also come on if you have worn spark plugs or a faulty mass airflow sensor, which measures the amount of air in the engine.

How Can You Fix It?

If the light comes on without flashing, pull over and tighten the gas cap. If this doesn't solve the issue, take the car to an auto repair shop. They can use a specialized tool that reads the car's error codes, providing a specific answer that explains the cause of the light. Then, they will recommend the proper steps to restore the vehicle and turn off the light.


If your check engine light is flashing or doesn't turn off, contact GSBP Automotive in Gulf Shores, AL. This trusted auto repair shop has been serving customers since 1985, and they pride themselves on providing honest, high-quality work. They offer engine overhauls, tire rotation, and computerized alignments to ensure your car is running smoothly. Call (251) 968-7456 to schedule an appointment. Visit them online for more information about their services.