Check Engine Light came on, but car still works

#1

I have a 2006 Subaru legacy. My check engine light came on last week, but everything is okay. My oil isn’t low, the rest of the liquids are okay. I had been using my car phone charger extensively since I got back from my Christmas vacation because I lost the charge I use in the house. Could this be a problem with my battery? I have no other symptoms to report.

#2

Do you have an owner manual? If not, get one and read it. They check engine light is your car’s way of telling you that it has a problem. Have it’s codes read from the diagnostic port. Some auto parts stores will do it for free. Get the numeric codes and post them here.

#3

Have the codes read at an AutoZone or similar. A check engine light is very generic as to what problem it’s refering to.

#4

"My check engine light came on last week, but everything is okay"
Actually, no, everything is NOT okay.

The CEL has nothing to do with oil levels or any other fluid levels. It is an indication that there is a problem related to the car’s various emissions systems. The causes can be numerous, and can range from a loose gas filler cap, to a bad carbon canister, to…any number of fuel system or ignition problems that can only be diagnosed by scanning the car’s OBD II system for stored trouble codes.

If the CEL is steadily illuminated, then you can have this checked out at your convenience, as long as you understand that the engine is undoubtedly burning more gas than usual, and is putting out higher levels of pollutants than usual while that light is illuminated. On the other hand, if the CEL is blinking, that means that the car needs to be checked immediately.

If the car is still under any of its various warranties, I strongly suggest that you go to the dealership, rather than pursue this issue with a private mechanic. I also strongly suggest that you read the Owner’s Manual, as well as the other booklet titled Warranty & Maintenance Booklet.

Those who do not bother to read the Owner’s Manual invariably come to regret this omission, and those who do not read the details of the various warranties frequently wind up paying for repairs that are covered by the car’s manufacturer.

Time to read the Owner’s Manual!

#5

Yes, Maggie, the car still works, but that’s not the point. If the CEL is on, there is a problem, or a developing problem, and you should not ignore it. The CEL is an early warning device. It tells you when something is going wrong, and gives you time to fix it before the problem gets worse (and more expensive) to repair.

Checking the fluids is good. That’s what you should do.

The cell phone charger is not likely to be the cause of the problem. I suggest you take your Legacy to a mechanic or an auto parts store and have the computer scanned for trouble codes. The codes should give you some indication of where the problem, or the potential problem, is.

Ignoring the CEL is asking for trouble. Don’t do it.

#6

check gas cap and make sure it is tight.
That will set a code.

Otherwise, get the codes read so someone can help interpret/diagnose the issue.

#7

That is why there is a warning light. The car will run and you would not be aware of a problem without the light. Your engine computer can do the reporting. Code reading is required now.