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Subaru Check Engine Light

Professional Diagnosis of Your Subaru’s Check Engine Light in Lowell

by Mechanics Direct December 18, 2020

We’ve all had that experience: your vehicle’s check engine light comes on and you’re unsure what to do. Depending on the kind of driver you are, you might just ignore it and hope it doesn’t come back on the next time you start your car. You might be better off immediately bringing it in to your mechanic.

Let’s learn a little bit about the check engine light and what triggers it so you can make better decisions that protect yourself and your Subaru.

What does the check engine light actually mean?

The check engine light has been illuminating dashboards since the 1980s when computers became common in cars. It is part of your Subaru’s onboard diagnostics system. It lights up when the system detects a fault that it can’t correct.

The system also helps with maintenance and repair by recording error codes, which our service technicians can read to help diagnose problems.

Emissions control rules created in 1996 added another role for the check engine light. Modern vehicles have systems that manage emissions, and when your Subaru detects a fault in the emissions system, if it can’t resolve the fault it will also trigger the check engine light. Normally that won’t significantly affect your car’s performance, which is why some drivers ignore the warning light, but ignoring the issue is never a good idea. You almost certainly can’t pass a state emissions test, and you could be damaging your Subaru if other problems exist.

A Blinking Check Engine Light

If your Subaru’s check engine light is blinking, you have an emergency that you can’t afford to ignore. This blinking warning light typically indicates a misfire, meaning your engine is outputting unburnt fuel into your exhaust system. A misfiring engine can quickly damage the engine or the catalytic converter, leading to expensive repairs.

Common Reasons for the Check Engine Light

If your check engine light stays illuminated or it’s blinking, you should always bring it to the experts at Mechanic’s Direct. Sometimes the light is on because of something simple you can remedy yourself but more often than not, it’s detected a larger issue in your Subaru.

Check engine light blinking

If the light is blinking, reduce the load on your Subaru as soon as possible. Stop towing a trailer, for example, get off the highway, and bring the vehicle to Mechanics Direct as soon as possible.

Look for other dashboard lights

If other warning lights on your dashboard are also illuminated, they can help give you an idea of the fault. When the check engine light is accompanied by oil pressure or overheating warnings, for example, you should have your Subaru looked at right away.

Be on the lookout

If the check engine light is on, check your engine. Pay attention to your Subaru to see if it’s showing any symptoms of engine trouble. Symptoms might include rough running or idling, loss of power, difficulty starting, or odd sounds or smells.

Tighten your gas cap

If nothing appears wrong, try this first. It seems silly, but if you don’t tighten down the cap on your gas tank after filling up, your check engine light could come on. That’s because gasoline vapors could escape from the tank and pollute the air. If your check engine light comes on, double check that your gas cap is on tight.

Read the codes

If you fancy yourself a mechanic, you can purchase an onboard diagnostics code reader and attempt to diagnose the problem yourself. You might get lucky and find a component code, indicating a particular component in your vehicle that needs replaced. More likely you will read one or more condition codes, which require analysis by a qualified professional to trace to their root causes.

Subaru Engine Inspection

Mechanics Direct is Here to Help

If you are experiencing problems with your Subaru’s check engine light, and you’re in the North Chelmsford, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tyngsborough, Westford, or Lowell MA areas, come see the expert technicians at Mechanics Direct.

We love Subarus for their safety, reliability, and value. You can jeopardize your Subaru’s lifespan by driving it despite a check engine light warning. Let the experts at Mechanics Direct find and solve the problem and restore your peace of mind.

We look forward to working with you in the future for all your Subaru’s needs. Call us today to make an appointment.