Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationMaintenance & Repairs · 1 decade ago

What does the "check engine" light mean?

I have a 2003 Hyundai Elantra. It's been a fantastic car, and I've had virtually no problems with it. I have done the standard maintenance on it faithfully, but seeing as it's a 6 year old car, things are bound to start happening. Last night on my way home from work, the "check engine" light came on. I have never encountered this on a car before, so I'm wondering if anyone out there can help me with what this could mean. Should I panic? Is this serious (I'm not driving it today, by the way). I would look it up in my manual, but it seems to have gone missing (could be in the trunk; I'll have to take a second look). Thanks for your help!

13 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    check engine light means that you should check your engine.

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  • 3 years ago

    Hyundai Check Engine Light

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  • 1 decade ago

    Don't panic, but go somewhere that can "read" your car's computer codes. Around here, Advance Auto will do it for free, I don't know where you are. Once you know the code, you can address it. It could be something as simple as an oxygen sensor gone out (no biggie). I also have a Hyundai and my check engine light came on after just 10 months of ownership. Turned out to be a poorly programmed computer that didn't know how to handle cooler temperatures. I went to the dealership and they fixed it right up with a software update. We also have another car (a 2004 Impala) whose light came on, and the code is "cylinder 1 misfire" and the shop is yet to figure out what's truly causing it.

    Just go get the code 'read' and then you'll know where you stand.

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  • 1 decade ago

    unfortunately, the "check engine" light can be a wide variety of things. Some of them stupid, some not. The only way to really know is to read the code that is created upon it's appearance. This is where the mechanics make the big doh. Sometimes, however in the old cars, it will give you an idea of what it's trying to say by blinking a certain number of times or in a certain sequence. You, can usually find this in your car's manual (or in your case, online). In any case, I've heard some of the common problems are .... gas cap is on too loose, your oil is low, you have a vacuum hose leak, etc. Anyways, I would do a basic runthrough on all the normal stuff before you freak out too much (oil, tranny fluid, coolant, etc.)

    hope this helps

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  • 1 decade ago

    "check engine" = please have the engine trouble code scanned

    So by it self it just means "something" wrong was detected. The problem can be very small (loose gas cap) to something expensive (new cat converter). But before you freak out, go to Autozone and have them scan the code for FREE.

    Come back here with the code, so you can made informed judgment.

    Good luck...

    P.S. if you've never had check engine light come on, usually the car is in good condition and the problem should be minor. And your car is NOT old. I have 2 cars. My new car is 2000 Audi (looks like new still) and 94 Civic (188K miles - runs like new). So you have LONG way to go. Keep up the regular maintenance.

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  • 1 decade ago

    the check engine light comes on when the system computer detects a problem. It could be anything from the gas cap is defective to an oxygen sensor in the engine. Most shops can hook it to a computer and tell you what system caused the light to come on.

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  • 3 years ago

    FYI - Autozone will not scan for your check engine light in neither California nor Hawaii. Lame.

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  • 1 decade ago

    means u need to have it put on the computer thing in the shop it will give the code for the alarm. and then u will no what to do from there. i had a car that would do that and it just meant i needed a new muffler..one time it was the gas cap not on tight enough.. i hope it isnt something serious. good luck.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Take it to Auto Zone and let them check it for you (it's free to check). Depending on the code it gives you can go from their with the repair work. Could be just a tune up but try them first.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you can take the car by auto zone and they will hook it up to a code reader and tell you what the code means, or you can pay I think its a 200 dollar deposit on the code reader and take it home and use it. It plugs in under your dash and when you take the code reader back they give you your deposit back.

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  • 1 decade ago

    More likely, it is an oxygen sensor or other minor malfunction. But, I've had both catalytic converters go on my Contour after the light went on.

    Totally go to Autozone!

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