Heath’s Auto Service Explains Why Drivers Should Pay Attention to the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” Light

Attention drivers: If your “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light comes on, you may have a problem. The problem, however, might or might not be serious. The only way to determine the cause of either light’s illumination is to run a diagnostic check on your vehicle. Don’t put this off. If you drive your car or truck with either warning on for an extended period, you could cause serious damage. Don’t end up with more expensive repairs than necessary.

The Warning

The “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light is designed to warn drivers that something is amiss, and automobile manufacturers designed and installed them to prevent serious engine or vehicular failure. The lights are imperfect, however, in that they will shine when anything is out of sorts. This might be something simple, such as you forgot to screw your gas cap back on tight after you filled up, or complicated, such as an engine component or system breakdown.

Drivers should always heed the warning because continuing to operate the vehicle might be dangerous to the driver, his or her passengers and other vehicles on the road. If your check engine light comes on but you don’t notice any difference in how the vehicle smells, sounds or handles, you can likely drive safely to the closest auto repair shop. If it comes on and you notice something strange, such as a smell or noise, pull over and call for help.

Environmental Concern

Admittedly, Arizona doesn’t have as strict a vehicle emissions policy as its western neighbor California does, but one primary reason why the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light comes on is because your vehicle isn’t emitting pollutants as it should. This not only means you’re contributing to greenhouse gasses, it also means your vehicle might not pass its next smog check. In addition, poor emissions can damage your exhaust and other engine systems.


The 1980s ushered in the computer era and vehicle manufacturers began to use computer systems in cars. These systems work tirelessly to correct the issues they can. If the computer cannot correct a problem, it lights up an associated warning, for example, your oil light if your oil is low. The computer cannot fill your automobile with oil, so it cannot self-correct the problem. As such, if your “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light comes on, it’s wise to take your vehicle to Heath’s Auto Service in Flagstaff to diagnose the problem because it cannot be self-corrected.


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