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The First Thing to Check with a Check Engine Light Warning

Contrary to what you may have heard about the dreaded check engine warning light on your dashboard panel, it does not necessarily mean that you are in for an expensive repair bill. Here’s a quick video on the first maintenance task you should do before anything else after your check engine light comes on.


Check Engine Light Warning

The check engine light warning is there to let the driver know when something is wrong somewhere within the engine and sometimes within the other vehicle systems. It comes on when the car’s onboard computer system detects something amiss and is letting you know that servicing MIGHT be needed.

Related article: Toyota Dashboard Warning Light Fix

I say “might” in big letters because sometimes that red or amber engine warning light could occur due to something as minor as a loose (or missing) gas cap after a stop at the gas station.

However, it’s human nature to assume the worst and feel the need to rush to a service center or dealership mechanic right away without having a clue what the potential problem could be. The risk of this is it opens you up to the possibility of being scammed into repairs you really don’t need.

The check engine light is typically diagnosed first with a little car history questioning by a mechanic and then analysis with an engine scanning tool that will pull up special codes that indicate where the problem may lie that initiated the warning signal.

However, even if you are not mechanically inclined or own your own scanning tool, there is a first-things-first approach that a good mechanic will check first, that could be the source of your problems---a weak car battery.

This was the message in a recent Scotty Kilmer YouTube channel clip where Scotty warns car owners that a weak car battery can cause your car’s onboard computer to misread a sensor that is tripping on the engine warning light.

Here is the video for a little more detail about why you should not start throwing parts at a problem or your car into the hands of a mechanic until you have first determined that the power source of your car’s onboard computer i.e., the battery, is in good condition and adequately powering your car’s electronics.

Related article: Common Car Maintenance Mistake Owners Make When Diagnosing Their Car’s Engine Problems

Related article: Car Battery Maintenance, Testing, and Replacement with This Ultimate Guide

Stop Going to Mechanics

And finally…

For additional articles about car repair and maintenance, here is an important one that is battery-related: “Never Buy This Battery Type for Your Car

COMING UP NEXT: Was This Mechanic Wronged by a Customer?

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Photo by Alex McCarthy on Unsplash


Dave (not verified)    March 19, 2022 - 8:18PM

I have no Facebook and will NEVER have Twitter after they banned my President (Trump) in an effort to make him lose.
I mostly want to know about chips to make my car go faster and not motive mileage.
Can you help?