Everyone out there has probably had a car that had a check engine light come on at some point. Some of you might have even had one blink at you furiously. Sometimes, the illumination corresponds perfectly with the engine running rough, fuel economy falling into the basement, or the transmission shifting funny. Sometimes nothing seems different in the way the vehicle runs at all. Either way, anytime the light illuminates it means something is broken. However, when the check engine light illuminates, it probably doesn’t have anything to do with the engine itself. This can make the check engine light deceptive.
The check engine light varies somewhat from one vehicle to another. Federal law dictates what it can be, but there are several options. The light must be amber (yellow-ish) in color. The light may say “Check Engine” or it might say “Service Engine Soon.” It may appear as a silhouette of an engine alone, or it make appear as a silhouette of an engine with the word “check” or a strange lightning bolt arrow in the middle.