The Stanley Subaru Scoop

check engine light

Why does the check engine light come on when I start my car?

When you start your vehicle, you've probably seen that the check engine light comes on momentarily. What's happening is your car is testing the engine/emission control system and bulb to make sure it works when you need it. The system is self-diagnostic and the light is a way to communicate trouble.

What is happening when my check engine light stays on?

The system is designed to function in a "limp home" mode when trouble occurs and the light comes on and stays on. So, you're good for a little bit, but you really, really should take your vehicle to an authorized Subaru dealer right away. The technicians have specialized tools and training to access trouble codes stored in the vehicle's memory each time the light is illuminated.

We have Subaru Certified Master Technicians at Stanley Subaru who have trained for hundreds of hours in addition to their significant work experience, and while this is a sophisticated system with the ability to detect and store information about even the slightest changes, our techs are experts at finding and fixing any issues that crop up.

How can I fix it for free? / Why does everyone keep talking about the gas cap?

It may seem weird or maybe even insignificant, but a loose fuel filler cap can trigger the check engine light. Fuel integrity is a big part of ensuring a well-running engine, so a missing or loose gas cap brings on the light. To get the light to go away (for free!) a surprising amount of the time, all you have to do is (with the car off) remove the cap, then put it back, tightening it until it clicks. Turn your car back on, wait a moment, and see if the check engine light goes away. If you are unsure whether the loose cap was the cause or if the light stays on, visit your Subaru dealer. Better safe than sorry!

Is there anything else that can set off the check engine light?

The light also can come on if you have installed electrically powered accessories (such as a radar detector or keyless entry system) that aren't compatible with your vehicle's systems. If the light comes on and such accessories are installed, Subaru technicians may need to disconnect them before any further diagnosis can take place. Subaru-approved accessories are thoroughly tested to prevent such problems.

Categories: Service
Tags: how to, advice
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