The Mystery of the Dashboard Light

July 2, 2020

Car dashboard warning lights

The Mystery of the Dashboard Light

Why Is That Check Engine Light on Again?

Imagine crossing the Valley View Bridge and entering the friendly confines of Downtown Cleveland, and you see a quick glimmer of orange light emanating from the dashboard. But then it returned and stayed.

What could it mean? Did you remember to change your oil? Is it an immediate need? Should you call for assistance?

Don’t worry. We’ve lined up the usual suspects, and we can pick them out of a lineup to get you back on the road.


Is it flashing or staying lit?

There is a big difference here. If the light is on and stays illuminated, it means that there has been an on-going problem detected for at least three times and you need to have the vehicle checked out soon. If it is flashing, you need to pull over immediately, and we would suggest having the vehicle towed into a shop to be checked out. When the check engine or other light is flashing, it is telling you that something major is wrong and you need to get the vehicle serviced as soon as possible.


Don’t panic – it could be your gas cap!

One of the simplest reasons a check engine light can come on is that the gas cap was not tightened after a fill-up. Check and secure the cap. Do not worry if the light does not immediately turn off, it might take a couple of days for the light to adjust.


The answer might be a faulty O2 sensor.

One of the most common answers to the mystery of why the light is on is that the vehicle needs a new O2 sensor. The oxygen sensor measures how much oxygen is in the vehicle’s exhaust system. Without a working O2 sensor, you will burn fuel faster and there could be potential damage to your catalytic converter or spark plugs.


It might be time for a new mass air flow sensor.

The mass air flow sensor measures the amount of air that is entering your engine to determine how much fuel is needed to operate the vehicle efficiently. If this sensor isn’t replaced, then your vehicle could suffer damage to the spark plugs, O2 sensors, and the catalytic converter.


The catalytic converter itself could be bad.

The catalytic converter turns harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. If it isn’t replaced, the car could fail emissions tests, suffer reduced fuel efficiency, and run at a higher temperature.


Your plugs may have lost their spark.

It could also be time to replace your spark plugs. Spark plugs “spark” your engine to ignite the air/fuel mixture in the vehicle’s combustion chamber. Worn plugs can damage the catalytic converter, ignition coils, and O2 sensors.


The mystery of the blinking light can only be solved by car care professionals, and we happen to know a few! When you see the light, don’t wait. The issues described above will only get worse over time. That’s why we need to solve the mystery today, so make your appointment with your neighborhood Rad Air Car Care Center.

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