Possible Engine Warning Light Causes
If your engine warning light comes on during a journey there could be serious cause for concern. If this does happen it could actually mean a variety of things, some of which are safe to continue driving with and others which could be seriously damaging to your vehicle. People often get confused when the engine light comes on, mainly because it can literally mean a multitude of reasons.
1 - Engine Management System
If the engine warning light comes on while you're driving, pull over at the earliest and safest chance to have a look under the hood. Owing to the fact that the engine warning light can illuminate for any possible reason, it does not tell you exactly what to look for. Seeing the words 'Check Engine' isn't actually that helpful. It could be that there is a malfunction in your management system and this will need to be addressed as soon as you can get it to a mechanic or diagnostic center. If the light flashes and does not totally light up, the first action you should take is to reduce your speed. If the light then goes out, it's just a glitch. If the light then comes on and stays on as a solid light, you can safely continue the journey, but keep your speed lower.
2 - Oxygen and Any Other Sensor
Sometimes the engine light will come on if your oxygen sensor fails or malfunctions. Any sensor which is not able to function correctly will trip the management system to switch on the engine light. Having problems with a sensor does not mean you have to stop your vehicle immediately, but of course, seeing the most alarming light on your dashboard come on, it is likely to scare some people.
3 - Emission Control
Your Malfunction Indicator Lamp (the engine warning light) may well illuminate to warn you that there is a problem with your emission control system. This can stretch to an exhaust issue, a catalytic converter issue or an engine issue.
4 - Electrical Problems
Your engine light will notify you that there is an issue with the engine. It won't spell out for you that it could be an electrical problem. You would have to have the whole car diagnosed to find out for sure what the cause is. If you're having some obvious trouble with electrics, like lights not working or fuses blowing or relay switches malfunctioning, then the engine light is pointing to that being the issue. Have your electrics tested by someone reputable.
5 - Engine Warning Light Malfunction
In some rare cases the engine light will come on, not because there is an issue with the engine, but a malfunction with the light itself. If this happens, you can try resetting the check engine light. If there is a problem with the engine you can guarantee that the engine warning light will come back on again at some point soon.