What does check engine mean: causes of engine malfunctions

Manufacturers endow modern cars with a large number of all kinds of sensors, which provide feedback from a running machine. Information is provided to the driver in the form of various signals, such as sound or light indicators. One of the most common options for providing information is the Check Engine icon on the dashboard.

Every driver should know why the engine check caught fire, because such an informant warns of any system malfunctions or the failure of certain vehicle components. Sometimes it is not even recommended to operate the car while the engine light is on.


  • 1 Simple signal decoding
  • 2 Should I ride with a burning light on the panel
  • 3 How to remove a check on the instrument panel
  • 4 The process of zeroing possible errors

Simple signal decoding

The largest automakers are engaged in the production of cars for the whole world, so they strive to unify their products as much as possible. The use of uniform standards implies that all signals will be perceived uniquely anywhere in the world. Accordingly, English is often involved. Translation of Check Engine into Russian will be quite simple and understandable for most English-speaking citizens - “Check Engine”.

why did the engine check catch fire

What does Check Engine mean?

In different brands of cars burning check is depicted in different ways. The following types of visualization are encountered:

  • inscription in the Check Engine rectangle;
  • ordinary signature Check;
  • stylized contours of the engine;
  • symbol in the form of lightning, etc.

You can often find it in the area of ​​the tachometer, under the arrow indicating the engine speed. For a second or two, it appears when the key is turned in the ignition lock, which is normal.

It should be borne in mind that in certain cases the burning Check indicator is not evidence of direct problems with the internal combustion engine.

Possible malfunctions from which the corresponding icon comes on may occur in various vehicle systems. An example is a loosely swirling gas tank or loss of catalyst performance. However, you should not completely ignore the signals, because such an approach can turn into a failure of more serious elements.

The reasons for the ignition of the engine check depend on the algorithm used by the software developers. Some companies have even designated a low quality fuel as a negative factor in which the icon on the panel is lit. In this regard, the driver can see the lit icon after filling a full tank, driving away from the gas station.

what causes the engine check to fire

Detect the luminous symbol will succeed in most cars on the panel under the tachometer needle. It can be one of the options:

  • a rectangle with the signature Check Engine;
  • simple inscription Check;
  • stylized icon in the form of engine contours;
  • traditional lightning icon, etc.

In all cases, the signal from it means the same thing. Usually, the visualization standard is used common throughout the car concern, which simplifies its reading.

See also: How to wash the engine yourself

Should I ride with a burning light on the panel

Experienced motorists tell novice drivers what Check Engine means. The following common factors may fall into the list of reasons:

  • speed shifting error;
  • significant wear of brake pads;
  • it is time to another MOT;
  • poured low-quality gasoline;
  • In the on-board network, the voltage dropped and so on.

First of all, control the state of the engine. If engine malfunctions are detected with a burning check, then it is dangerous to continue driving on such a vehicle. It is worth using a tow truck.

Modern drivers may have problems with self-diagnosis. This is due to the increasing complexity of various automotive systems. To get accurate information about the state of the machine and its internal combustion engine, you need to contact the experts. They have a wide range of diagnostic equipment for monitoring the status of cars.

In any case, even if you do not know or have forgotten what a check in the car is, you should try to stop the car and turn off the engine by turning on the emergency gang when the light bulb is on. After a pause, you can try to start the engine again. If the indicator starts working again, then the car will need to be sent to a service station for a comprehensive check.

It is important to know that when operating a car with a luminous Check Engine badge, there is an excessive consumption of fuel, there are prerequisites for unstable operation of the engine, and also the braking of the vehicle is lost.

In addition to the physical deterioration of the car, the car owner in the operation of a new car with a check may lose the warranty from the manufacturer. This factor should also be considered while driving.

How to remove a check on the instrument panel

Minimizing the negative effects is possible with the correct understanding of the situation with the car. To do this, we recommend using proven techniques in the following cases:

  • When the engine check burns for a very short time at the start of the ignition, this does not mean breakage or other damage. Most likely the problem lies in the under-tightened fuel cap or other trifles. It is enough to tighten the threads tighter to eliminate the problem.
  • The appearance of a signal while driving should force the driver to move, if possible, from the road for the primary visual inspection of the engine compartment. Often sleeping terminals with battery cause similar situations. Other problems with attachments are also possible when, for some reason, the cable or supply tubes are disconnected from it.
  • Blinking a check requires the driver to stop and, without muffling the engine, listen to the sounds of the engine. Also, with the engine off, check the oil level and inspect the engine from all sides. In the absence of obvious defects, you need to get to the nearest station for detailed diagnostics of the power plant.
  • A normally working engine with a constantly flashing Check inscription most likely indicates a malfunction during ignition. Coil and candles should be the test area in this situation. Still the same situation arises in the case of pouring low-quality fuel, and this is "treated" only at car services.
  • A constantly lit engine check indicator signals an incorrect gap on the spark plugs. Each is necessary to unscrew and measure the gap on it (with a probe or caliper), which should not exceed 1.3-1.4 mm
  • After arriving at the bus station because of the check we recommend to check the ignition. This is done with the help of special testers to help identify wiring wear or insulation problems of electrical parts.
  • The culprit of ignition of the lamp on the dashboard is often the fuel pump. The driver should stop and listen to the sounds coming from him. He is obliged to exactly buzz without stopping and not making clicks. If there are extraneous sounds, it is necessary to dismantle the pump, flush the casing and clean the filters.
  • A problematic situation is that in which, together with a fire Check, the temperature of the coolant increases in parallel. When reaching critical values ​​of 80-95C and burning icon move on dangerous. It is necessary to call a tow truck or wait for the temperature to drop, and then go as fast as possible.
See also: How to change the valve seals

what is a check in the car

Blinking a check along with other indicators for 2-3 seconds at the start is the norm.

The process of zeroing possible errors

The main situation when a problem with the “Check Engine” happens is the failure of any sensor in the car. However, not in all cases the repair or replacement of a broken element can cause the indicator to go out. We will understand how to get rid of the check on the dashboard.

It should be borne in mind that the information "trace" of an error remains in the computer's memory for a long time. This happens due to imperfect software. You can reset Check Engine yourself or reset the error. To do this, use a simple algorithm:

  • it is necessary to turn on the ignition;
  • open the hood on the engine;
  • we recline the positive contact from the battery;
  • wait about 1-2 minutes and return the terminal back;
  • close the hood and turn off the engine ignition.

When consistently performing actions, the light should stop unduly disturbing the driver. If these actions did not help, then it is worth going to the service station, where professionals should help with the service.

It is important to know that it is categorically unacceptable to carry out a discharge without removing the original cause. Otherwise, the motorist risks getting more serious problems with the engine.