The “check engine light” is probably the most disturbing warning light inside a vehicle because it makes you think you have engine problems.
But what happens if the light comes on for a while and then stops?
Here’s some information about why your car says “check engine” and then goes off.
Why does your car say “check engine light” and then stop?
Cars display the “check engine” light as a warning to vehicle owners, indicating an imbalance in the fuel systems, air intake systems, or numerous other engine components. The sensors read the vehicle’s activities and activate the light when something needs to be fixed or adjusted.
You could have one or several problems with your car if you see the “check engine” light, and they can be minor or severe.
These are some of the top issues that can cause a “check engine” light to go on:
1) A Loose Gas Cap
A damaged or loose gas cap can cause the “check engine” light to activate because it throws off the emissions. It’s one of the first things you should check because it’s the simplest problem to solve.
You might only have to tighten your cap or remove it and screw it on correctly.
Alternatively, you could have a damaged or cracked cap you need to replace. Neither process requires a whole lot of time or money.
2) Bad Spark Plugs
Standard spark plugs should be replaced every 20,000 miles, while other types can last longer.
If not, they will wear over time and cause inadequate combustion and operating processes, which will cause the “check engine” light to illuminate.
3) Defective Oxygen Sensors
Oxygen sensors measure the amount of air going through the system and send the data to the car’s computer.
Your vehicle stops performing well when it’s no longer working correctly, and the “check engine” light goes off.
4) Dirty Filters
Dirty, inexpensive air filters can make your “check engine” light come on because of the lack of adequate air getting to the engine.
Fortunately, they are affordable and generally easy to replace.
5) Worn Mass Airflow Sensor
If you have a bad mass airflow sensor, you might see a “check engine” light.
The sensor measures the amount of density of the air circulating through the engine and can cause poor performance and other problems if it breaks.
6) Faulty EGR Valve
A defective EGR valve can also make your “check engine” light active.
The EGR valve is an inlet tube that connects to the exhaust system, and a problem such as cracking or carbon buildup can cause it to set off your light.
7) Gasket Failure
Your car has tons of rubber gaskets that keep air and fluids from leaking out of various components.
Any of those gaskets can become worn and upset the computer system when the sensors read its activities.
8) Broken Engine Mount
Engine mounts are installed to keep the engine stable.
A broken mount can cause your engine to vibrate as you drive it, and the vibrations can make your “check engine” light turn on or come on intermittently.
9) Electrical Problems
Problems with your electrical system can also make your “check engine” light brighten.
The most common reason this issue happens is that sensors lose their connection and stop working properly.
They no longer send important information to your vehicle’s computer system, so the system returns an error, causing your light to come on.
10) Fuel Leaks
Liquid fuel leaks and vapor leaks could also be why you see a “check engine” light.
The good news is that you will probably smell the vapors shortly before or after your light turns on.
Leaks can come from a loose gas cap, a damaged tank, or a tear or break in a line or hose.
All of those situations require immediate assistance because of the risk of combustion.
11) Vacuum Leaks
Vacuum leaks usually occur in areas between your engine and the mass airflow sensor.
These leaks can cause a wealth of problems with your vehicle’s performance, and they can also make your light turn on.
When you have a vacuum leak, your car can’t calculate the appropriate amount of fuel to deliver.
As a result, you’ll experience sputtering, stalling, and other issues aside from your problem light.
12) Internal Engine Issues
The worst situation that can cause your “check engine” light to come on is an issue with an internal engine component. Thermostat problems, water pump failures, and blown gaskets are among some of the more expensive issues that can make your light turn on.
As you can see, there are multifarious reasons you can see a “check engine” light.
It’s wisest to start your troubleshooting process with the most straightforward thing first and then check other possible causes. You can begin by checking the gas cap and then move on.
You can purchase a little OBD2 scanner that connects to your vehicle under the dashboard.
The machine will communicate with the car’s computer and then return codes that will give you additional information about the problem.
The alternative is to take your vehicle to a site that performs free basic diagnostic tests to see if you can pinpoint the defect that way.
Other than this, you need to check that your starter works. Remember, your car may not start even though the starter works.
What does this message mean?
The “check engine” light means that you need to solve a problem with something that has gone amiss with an engine component.
The light also comes on when you have a minor problem with a system that works with your engine indirectly.
Why does the message stop and disappear after a while?
If your “check engine” light message disappears after a while, it means that the issue is intermittent. Intermittent problems usually occur when parts are failing but have not yet broken.
Therefore, the engine’s computer doesn’t pick up problems all the time.
Why does the “check engine light” lamp flash 3 times?
Your “check engine” lamp flashes 3 times because of a severe issue. A flashing light usually means you have problems with several systems inside your vehicle instead of one. The alternative is that a major engine component has severe defects and needs immediate attention.
A bad catalytic converter is likely to cause your “check engine” light to flash in this manner.
Manufacturers place catalytic converters in vehicles to reduce and convert toxic gases in the engine. A bad one can cause a fire because of the intense heat under the car.
Why does the “check engine light” lamp flash 10 times?
A flashing “check engine” lamp flashes 10 times when your vehicle’s engine is misfiring, and it’s much more severe than a solid light. That means you should probably turn the car off and not run it again until someone fixes the issue.
The light can sometimes mean that unburnt fuel is getting into your exhaust system.
The problem can occur because of something simple, like a bad spark plug.
However, fuel getting into your exhaust system is a dangerous condition that can destroy your entire engine.
One problem that can cause a flashing “check engine” light is low oil pressure. You may also see a “low oil pressure” light at the same time, depending on your model.
Why does the “check engine” light come on after driving for a while?
If your “check engine” light comes on after driving for a while, you could have a fuel system problem, a thermostat issue, or a bad regulator.
The problem comes and goes because the failure is intermittent.
Once the worn part or problem is more permanent, the light will stay on until you have someone repair the vehicle.
Should I take the car to a mechanic?
You should take your car to a mechanic if you don’t find a problem with basic troubleshooting. Try to visually inspect the gas cap and other areas that are easy to assess.
Some auto parts stores have small OBD2 machines they can use on your car if you can’t afford one right now.
The next step is to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop as quickly as possible to avoid causing additional issues with it.
Automotive shops have sophisticated diagnostic machines that can link to your vehicle’s computer and pinpoint problems. A trusted mechanic can then recommend the right repair job.
It might be wise to take your vehicle to a mechanic even if you get the light to turn off.
That way, you’ll know with certainty if you need to replace a significant part that can add life to your vehicle ownership.
Don’t panic over a “check engine” light because it might not mean you need extreme repairs. Instead, listen to what your vehicle tells you and stop operating it until you find out the cause.
Your prompt action will ensure that you have a longer time with your car.