Check Engine Light On? South Bay Ford Can Help
One of Ford's most commonly misunderstood lights or indicators is the check engine light. The check engine light is part of your onboard diagnostics system, and the display can look slightly different depending on your model. The light can say "Check Engine," or it can be a symbol of an engine, or it can be a combination of both. The light can be amber or red.
What causes the check engine light to come on in a Ford?
Onboard computers increasingly control and monitor your vehicle’s performance, and the check engine light can mean various things. It can be as simple as your gas cap being loose or as critical as an engine problem that can cause severe damage.
Depending on your model, the check engine light will illuminate or blink. A steady glow typically means something less serious, but a flashing check engine light indicates that your vehicle’s engine is in trouble and you need service immediately. If your check engine light is flashing, we recommend you not drive the car and schedule service at South Bay Ford today.
Ford Check Engine Light Codes
The check engine light turning on can be pretty intimidating. You don’t necessarily need to panic, and it’s helpful to understand what might be going on.
If you hear the term diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), this is the name for the check engine light codes. These are automotive computer codes stored in your car's onboard computer diagnostic system. There are hundreds of different codes that your check engine light can represent. While it may seem overwhelming, you can have peace of mind knowing that your check engine light is doing what it’s supposed to - warn you of problems.
Obvious vehicle symptoms do not always accompany an illuminated check engine light. Since there are hundreds of possible codes, there are also hundreds of possible reasons for the light, including:
- Transmission issues
- Emissions control issues
- Ignition system faults
- Loose Gas Cap or Missing Gas Cap
- Fuel and air metering systems problems
- Computer output circuit issues
- Bad Spark Plugs
- Old Battery
- O2 Sensor
Your car’s computer will store this trouble code. Our South Bay Ford-certified mechanic can read the code with an electronic scan tool to diagnose and repair the issue.
Is it safe to drive your Ford with the check engine light on?
This is a complex question. The answer is that it depends. It depends on the severity of the issue. If the cause is a minor issue, such as a loose gas cap, it should be safe to drive. If you notice a difference in the car's performance, it could indicate a more troubling problem. If the check engine light is flashing, it means that there is a significant enough problem that you should call us right away and describe the issue.
Will the check engine light reset itself?
The check engine light on your Ford will usually shut itself off if the issue or code that caused it to turn on is fixed. For example, if the cause of your check engine light coming on was a loose gas cap, the light will turn itself off if it's tightened. In most cases, your Ford light will go off after about 20-40 miles. If you drive over that amount and the light is still on, you will need to bring it into South Bay Ford so the light and code can be double-checked and reset.
How many miles can you drive with the check engine light?
If you check engine light is flashing, we suggest you pull over and contact South Bay Ford to determine if your vehicle may be secure to drive in or if we recommend a tow truck. Since each check engine code has its own severity level, it is difficult to predict how many miles you can drive with the warning light on. It could be anything from a bad sensor to plug wires needing to be replaced. The safest bet is to contact us.
Turn Off Your Check Engine Light with South Bay Ford
If you have any issues with your check engine light, call South Bay Ford. We are here if you need us. Add us as a contact on your phone at (888) 426-9096.