When your vehicle experiences issues, the lights and warnings on your dashboard can help you determine the issues and correct potential troubles. As a driver, one common indicator for you is the check engine light. This light helps you identify when your vehicle has a problem, but the check engine light indicator can represent a few different system failures.

Our team at Apple Ford of Red Lion has put together a list of common issues that prompt a check engine light to help you narrow down the potential issue and schedule the most effective repairs to ensure your safety and protect your vehicle.

Check Engine Light

check engine light on car dashboard

Every vehicle has a check engine light that turns on to warn you about potential system failures and issues. This light appears on your dashboard and remains lit until the system in question has been repaired. You can identify your check engine light by looking for a small, typically orange symbol resembling a car engine's shape. Depending on your vehicle, your dashboard or screen system may also display a message about the engine status. This symbol can mean a variety of things and represents various possible concerns you should pay attention to.

Gas Cap

When your check engine light comes on, the easiest and first action you should take is to check your gas cap. A loose or broken gas cap can provoke your check engine light. Make sure that your gas cap is fully intact and appears screwed in and sealed correctly. If fixing your gas cap removes the check engine light from your dashboard, you can avoid other checks and repairs.

Catalytic Converter

When the check engine light appears on your dashboard, it could indicate a broken catalytic converter. The catalytic converter works to manage dangerous exhaust fumes from your engine. Checking and repairing the various components of the catalytic converter can be incredibly costly. Addressing the issue as soon as possible can help you avoid a complete breakdown or accident and can help keep you safe.

Mass Air Flow Sensor

The mass airflow (MAF) sensor in your car controls the air and oxygen flow to the engine. When this sensor fails, it can trigger your check engine light. A build-up of dirt and corrosion can cause this sensor to malfunction. If you notice a decline in your fuel efficiency along with your check engine light, it may mean that your MAF sensor needs cleaning or replacing. Mechanics advise repairing your MAF as quickly as possible to ensure your engine functions properly and increases your safety, efficiency, and value.

Oxygen Filter

Your car's check engine light could represent potential issues with the oxygen filter. The oxygen filter sends information about unused oxygen in your exhaust system to your car's computer. When the sensor fails to read the oxygen levels, your engine may still run, but your fuel efficiency may decrease significantly. It's best to have your filter checked, cleaned, or replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the other components of your car and ensure proper functioning and efficiency for your vehicle.

Ignition Coil

A check engine light can also indicate an issue with your car's ignition coil. The ignition coil provides an electrical current to your engine to ensure a good start and sound engine functions. If your vehicle detects a malfunction within the electrical system, the check engine light may turn on to notify you of the problem. Having your ignition coil checked when your engine light becomes visible can ensure your car's ability to start and prevent you from getting stranded.


A check engine light can also monitor the safety functions of your car's transmission. The indicator may appear when the vehicle detects low levels of transmission fluid. Other transmission problems like a blocked filter, corroded line, and overheated system can also cause complications and prompt your car's check engine light. A mechanic may check the status of your transmission when looking to fix your check engine signal.


A dead or old car battery can prompt the check engine light in your car. If you're having trouble starting your car or feeling a sharp decline in your vehicle's power, you can have the battery replaced or charged. This repair is inexpensive and straightforward typically and can improve your car's safety and reliability. A mechanic may perform tests to determine the strength and condition of your battery to evaluate whether it's causing your check engine light issues.

Spark Plugs

Potential issues with your car's spark plugs may also cause the check engine light to appear. Your spark plugs and spark plug wires transport electricity to your engine. Issues with this system can cause your engine to misfire and often cause hesitation in your car's ability to accelerate. When your check engine light appears, you can have your spark plugs and wires checked and replaced to maintain proper engine functions and prevent a breakdown, misfire, or accident.

Apple Ford Service Center

At Apple Ford of Red Lion, in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, our dealership includes a convenient service center to handle any checks, repairs, and replacements for your vehicle. When your check engine light comes on, call or visit our team of friendly and knowledgeable technicians who can help you identify the problem, work with you to discuss repairs, and schedule your appointment. You can also find high-quality and manufacturer-approved replacement parts from our Apple Ford parts department to fit your vehicle's make and model and ensure the proper fit and function.

Your car's check engine light works to protect you and your vehicle, but the indicator can represent a myriad of issues. No matter what the obstacle is that causes your check engine light to turn on, you can count on the team at Apple Ford to ensure your safety and offer convenient services. Give us a call or visit our dealership today so we can provide you with a safe, dependable, and problem-free ride.

Check Engine Light by Robert Couse-Baker is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Categories: Service
Tags: Tips