Top Ten Things Not to Do If Your Engine Light Comes On

Photo by Ethan Cull on Unsplash

This post originally ran on November 10th, 2014. it was in response to having an engine light come on in my car. It looks to be relevant today, so here goes.

* * *

Top Ten Things Not to Do If Your Engine Light Comes On.

10 If your engine light comes on, do not panic. If you do, at best, you may make things worse by being rattled. At worst, you may pull off the road in a panicked state, keep rolling past the shoulder into a culvert below. (Now you have a mess of lights to deal with, Bud including the state police.)

9 If your engine light comes on, do not consult your owner’s manual until you come to a stop. If you do, at best, you won’t find the section inconspicuously marked “Warning Indicator – Engine,” and you’ll have to stop anyway. At worst, you will be concentrating on using the index to find the subject matter and inadvertently run into the stopped care in front of you. ( In any case, the index and manual will be of no help.)

8 If your engine light comes on, do not try to ignore it. If you do, at best, you will be continually reminded that something is wrong. At worst, your engine light bulb will burn out, and you will think the trouble has magically cleared up until you hear the rending screech of metal marking the final moments of the life of your engine. (Yeah, five quarts of oil in the drive is a lot.)

7 If your engine light comes on, do not think this is a normal function of the car’s systems. If you do, at best, you will only have a minor additional repair. At worst, you may be saying goodbye to your trusty car as you watch it disappear into the local u-pull-it parts depot. (With the added insult that the tow truck fee was more significant than the salvage payment.)

6 If your engine light comes on, do not attempt to diagnose the problem yourself. If you do, at best, you may end up at the mechanic since you couldn’t find the problem. At worst, you may have misdiagnosed the situation and be happily motoring along in a remote area as you see the light again, followed by billowing clouds of smoke. (This is after passing the last gas station for one hundred miles sign, fifty miles ago.)

5 If your engine light comes on, do not think it is an excellent accompaniment to the soft romantic music on the radio. If you do, at best, you may not be able to start your car someday. At worst, you could be seeing the beginning of the end of the soft music and your car. (Funny, you never heard that strange noise before.)

4 If your engine light comes on, do not pretend it doesn’t bother you. If you do, at best, you will have unsettled moments until you come to grips with the fact there is trouble. At worst, the light will trigger long-suppressed anxieties, which could cause a significant episode requiring hours of psychological help. (This help will make the repair bill on the car look cheap.)

3 If your engine light comes on, do not think your car is irreparably damaged. If you do, at best, you will lose confidence in its reliability. At worst, you will take unreasonable steps to get rid of the car, which could lead to significant loss of funds and peace of mind. (Thinking you could shove it off a cliff might lead to being cited by the state police for littering.)

2 If your engine light comes on, do not suggest to your spouse that you swap cars for a while. If you do, at best, your spouse will have to deal with the issue. At worst, the problem is so acute your spouse breaks down on the freeway, and a gang of carjackers comes along, strip, and burns your car. (In addition, your spouse thinks the lawless lifestyle looks pretty romantic and joins their crew and now sports a “Mess with the best, die like the rest” tattoo on the back.)

1 If your engine light comes on, do not drive the car to any place but the mechanic. If you do, at best, you may have a small repair bill which could get bigger. At worst, the problem will continue to get bigger until you are no longer controlling your car. (You will become its servant with all the negative attention related to the title.)

96 comments

  1. Dear John,
    we really like no. 2. GREAT 👍
    Have a happy week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fab Four. Have a super week as well. 😁

      Like

  2. I remember engine lights – weren’t they things they had in cars with internal combustion engines back in the day?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Says the e-car efete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Effete? Moi? Heaven forfend!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So typical, had a typo on effete. I like the use of forfend so maybe I have some effete blood myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah! Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
        Our fine forfendered friend! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I fail at #10 every time. Keep thinking I have minutes before something explodes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No. 2 is not a stretch nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny, Steve. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The dreaded engine light. Been there a few times. The one time when it DIDN’T come on like it should have, my engine got fried. No warning. 😦 Since then, I’m gun shy and drive straight to a mechanic that can analyze the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you. I freeze like a snowman when that dreaded thing comes on. Thanks, Joan 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading the owner’s manual while driving is never a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading the owner’s manual is often not a good idea even sitting still. Thanks, Jill

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Number ten is important, but it’s so hard not to panic. Great list, but let’s not talk about number two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. Number two is a wake up call for sure. Never take a spouse for granted. Thanks, Dan. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yup. All bow to our mechanical overlords.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or at least hand over the 10% tithe.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Engine light is one thing, but my dashboard is like trying to read an emoji text. I forget what half those icons mean!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. I’m with you, GP. Also, I’m glad they only stay on for a few seconds.😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point. It’s so distracting when they stay on!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There you go. A safety issue.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I do a spin on #2. I just let He-Man know the idiot light is on and have him deal with it. Thankfully, for me that’s how we’ve divvied up that job. 😀 The worst is when I’m on the road and the low tire light comes on!! Finding a gas station with a working air compressor thingie is so hard today!! Let’s not talk about how I don’t know how to fill up the tire. 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a portable tire compressor. It is the size of a drill and works beautifully. Tell He-Man you want one in your stocking for Christmas. Of couse, as a bike rider I use it all the time. I just filled The Producer’s tires yesterday.

      Like

  11. I always dreaded any kind of light coming on when I was driving, as it always meant trouble, or a problem that would never be found, or a substantial amount of money would have to be spent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. I always thought there should be a light that means “Get rid of this heap.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I seem to recollect that is usually what they mean…

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I snorted at #2. Glad I’d already finished my hot chocolate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had hoped to take out a few keyboards. Thanks for letting me know you liked it, Teri. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I cracked up at #2. And #1, well our mechanic can’t figure out why the light comes on. 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He needs to get a diagnostic tool so he can read the chips in the engine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He has done that. The car manufacturer (Mazda) seems to have a lock into getting into certain diagnostics, so outside mechanics have to be wizards.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m guilty of the first one – I always panic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we all do. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Well said, John. Automobile engines have gotten pretty complicated, and the check-engine light is there because of that. One must have some special equipment and knowledge to even find out what the problem is. In most cases, it’s best left to the pros.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. There are all kinds of messages the engine gives. Would be nice to get one that says “Sell me quick. Big repair in 200 miles”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I worked in an engine test lab for over 20 years, mostly with engine electronics. I drive a 13 year old Chevy pickup that works just fine for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My car is ten yeas old and I have 70,000 miles on it. Good for another ten years at least.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Its always a great pleasure, John! Thank you as well. xx Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Great tips, especially not to consul the owner’s manual. :-)) I cannot say often enough, how i love the very old cars. There you most times only need a screwdriver and some tape, giving them new life. xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Michael. Now you need an engineering degree.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You mean I shouldn’t have ignored the engine light until the engine seized up? (Yes, I did that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that’s what I’m saying. 😳 Sorry about your engine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was a long time ago. I learned my lesson!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember myex wife driving our BMW 125 miles with the oil light, engine temp light, and the check engine light on. The car was smoking when she pulled into the drive. It was a broken fan belt but the car was never the same. No, that’s not why we got divorced.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 😀 Yikes! The car I killed was a Le Car.

        Like

      4. Renault Le Car?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That’s the one! My brother would tell me to turn on the windshield wipers to clear the rust flakes flying up from the hood.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hahaha. It was French after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Ha! Ha! #2 cracked me up!!! Great tips. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan. 😊

      Like

  19. No use telling me not to panic, ha! I can’t help but get rattled when something’s amiss with my car. I just know it’s something expensive to repair, too. Now that “low tire pressure” signal that comes on when the seasons change? That one’s a piece of cake. Good list, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. That’s why I have a handheld tire inflater. Hate gas stations where the fool doesn’t work.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I think we can agree that number 2 is the top chuckle-generating number. Plus, it serves him right in the end, don’t you think?
    Nothing worse than when that stupid check engine light turns on and you are told, oh no, it’s nothing… don’t worry about it. Until you have to worry about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always worry about it. Thanks, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet!
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  21. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    Just dealt with a check engine light, got off cheaper than thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You live a charmed life, Denise. 😁

      Like

  22. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    Another great list, John. When I’ve noticed that little mysterious light, I’ve gone through the manual, ended up being even more confused, and then called AAA. I don’t know what I’d do without that service. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me either. We all have a card. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  23. LOL. That reminds me, my engine light is coming on a lot lately. I think I’ll give the car to hubby and see if he notices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There you go. You may like that tattoo on his back. Thanks, Darlene.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m such a city girl John, never driving despite having a license, but I enjoyed it just the same. Clever as always. Nice you can rerun them since, for me and I’m sure many others, they’re all brand new. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think for most they are new. Back then I had maybe 200 followers and not the same people as now. This is why I feel okay about the reruns. Thanks for the visit and glad you enjoyed the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reruns are great…like Love Lucy, or Gunsmoke. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes very true. I like to see how the stories hold up over time. They usually do.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They do. Trust me.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. And then there are the days when every light comes on at the same time. In the country. Where there’s no cell service. Ah, for the luxury of only one engine light!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. I would suggest that the one light means it’s time to sell the jalopy. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Don’t have a favorite this time. They are all GREAT advice. Back in my day the engine light was a knocking in the engine. Short of that, we just kept driving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember those days too. Thanks, Andrew.

      Like

  27. petespringerauthor · · Reply

    I got a two for one special the other day. Two vehicles and the engine light came on in both. Days like that you just wonder if it’s better to stay home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, no. Nightmare time.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Love #8 & 10! It’s tempting to ignore and so easy to get rattled!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. Thanks, Lauren. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  29. It might be asking a lot, not to panic. But yes, there is no use panicking when cursing works just as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An excellent point, Pilgrim. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  30. If my car light comes on, I panic and I pull over and phone my dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There you go. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Very informative. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always a pleasure. 😁

      Like

  32. While you are trying to figure out what to do, be thankful that one part of the car is in fine fettle; the engine light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true and be thankful you are not flying an airplane.

      Liked by 1 person

Put your favorite fiction or non-fiction in writing. I would love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: