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check engine light

Your Subaru Check Engine Light Is On: What Does It Mean?

Imagine you’re driving down the highway in your Subaru, and the check engine light comes on. Does this mean you need to pull over immediately and call for service? Not necessarily. Your actions will depend on the situation at hand, as the warning light can mean anything from a loose gas cap to critical engine problems, but it’s always a good idea to get a Subaru diagnostic performed by a qualified mechanic if your check engine light comes on.

While you may not need immediate service, never ignore the light. Doing so can seriously damage your engines components and leave you stranded on the side of the road. The Subaru Impreza was the third most stolen vehicle in Colorado in 2017. The last thing you want to do is leave it unattended on the roadside, so call and make an appointment for Subaru engine diagnostics before the situation gets serious.

What Does the Check Engine Light Mean? 

Several systems in your Subaru are run by computers, including the automatic transmission, ignition timing, fuel mixture, and engine speed. If the computer finds a problem in the electrical system that it can’t fix, it illuminates the check engine light. The warning indicator is usually yellow and varies from being a picture of an engine to being words like “service engine soon” or “check engine.” In late model Subarus, other warning lights might turn on simultaneously that helps identify the source of the problem by the trouble code the system stores. A Subaru engine diagnostics center can then use an electronic scanner to determine exactly what’s causing the issue.

The light may also indicate dangerous gas emissions from carbon monoxide to hydrocarbon pollutants. Your Subaru’s monitoring system watches for escaping gasoline vapors due to a leak or missing gas cap, as well as exhaust emissions as they leave the engine and catalytic converter.

What Should You Do When the Light Comes On?

Always know what the lights on your dashboard mean. You can learn the symbolism of each gauge by reading your Subaru owner’s manual. This will help you determine the severity of the problem. Whether the indicator light remains constant or starts to blink, you’ll need to get your car checked by a certified Subaru mechanic, but a blinking light means a serious issue that needs immediate attention. In that case, pull over in a safe area and have your vehicle towed to the Subaru Clinic.

While a lit check engine light isn’t always an emergency, having your vehicle looked at sooner rather than later can save you from paying for expensive repairs. A Subaru diagnostic center like the Subaru Clinic can determine the cause of the issue and safely get you back on the road. Call us today for an appointment!