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What To Do If Your Engine Management Light Comes On?

For many drivers, it’s their worst nightmare. Maybe you’re on the way back from a long commute, or you’ve simply been on a relaxing afternoon drive, when your engine management light comes on, it’s a sinking feeling for every motorist. 

Often associated with severe engine problems, if the engine management does come on it could mean all manner of things. But what is an engine management light?

In short, the engine management light is just one of several warning lights you may see on your car’s dashboard. If it needs to, it’ll often come on as soon as you start the ignition, but it can appear at any time. The light is connected to your car’s engine control unit (ECU) and is the first sign that there may be a problem with your engine.

Let’s take a look at the various meanings behind an engine management light and how it might affect your vehicle. 

Engine Inspection

Can I drive with my engine management light on?

If your engine management light has come on, it is a sign that there is an issue with your vehicle’s engine. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to get it seen to by your local garage as soon as possible so the fault doesn’t get worse and make your car dangerous to drive. 

If the engine management light is on but not flashing, then you can still drive it prior to its booking with the garage as long as its essential systems, such as brakes and lights, are in good working order. 

However, if the light is flashing it means there is an emergency and you must not drive it. Call your garage immediately if this occurs.  

What does my engine management light flashing mean?

If you notice that your engine management light is flashing, this means that there is a serious fault with your engine that needs to be immediately addressed. Usually, this means a misfire has occurred in the engine and continued use could result in overheating and costly damage to the car’s catalytic converters. 

As well as the flashing light, you may experience juddering and a rough sound as you drive it.   

How long can you drive with an engine management light on?

Again, the presence of your car’s engine management light doesn’t mean it’s a terminal problem and it’s important not to panic. The Kilnhurst Tyres team would always recommend getting your car inspected at the soonest available opportunity if the light comes on, but you can usually still drive for a few miles if necessary

Remember, if the light is flashing, then it is more serious and you shouldn’t drive the car if this is happening.   

What should I do if the engine management light comes on intermittently?

Usually, the engine management light will go off once the problem is resolved, but if you notice it still coming on intermittently, it could be a loose connection or a similar wiring problem.  

If you simply want to identify the problem, then you can purchase a diagnostic scanner online. This way you can find out whether the light has a fault or if there is a real issue with your car.

You can also take it into your local garage and they’ll be able to help, too. 

Will I fail my MOT with the engine management light on?

Recently, the MOT rules slightly changed and under the new guidance, any car that has an engine management light on when the ignition is switched on will instantly fail an MOT. 

So, if your MOT is coming up but you’ve noticed your engine management light is on, you need to get it sorted beforehand. 

From MOTs to servicing, wheel alignment and a whole host of other automotive services, the team at Kilnhurst Tyres are experts at keeping your car on the road. To find out more about how we can help you, contact our team today. 

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