I will be totally honest with you, our long-term customers, those that have brought their cars back to us year after year will almost always get in touch with us as soon as they hear a noise, see a dashboard light or sense that anything might be wrong with their vehicle.
We are regularly asked about clearing engine lights maybe if an MOT is approaching or the sale of a car is imminent. Whilst most understand the perils with this some do not, so read on if you have ever asked a Garage or indeed Google about resetting engine lights.
Clearing the check engine light on your car without addressing the underlying issue is generally not recommended for several reasons:
- Safety concerns: The check engine light is an important warning system that alerts you to potential problems with your vehicle. It can indicate issues related to the engine, transmission, emissions, or other critical components. Ignoring these warnings and clearing the light without fixing the underlying problem could compromise the safety of your vehicle and potentially lead to accidents or breakdowns.
- Unresolved underlying issues: The check engine light is triggered by the car’s onboard diagnostic system when it detects a fault or malfunction. Clearing the light without addressing the underlying problem does not fix the issue itself. It may temporarily hide the symptom, but the problem will likely persist or even worsen over time. Neglecting necessary repairs can result in more extensive and costly damage to your vehicle.
- Emission regulations: Clearing the check engine light may allow you to pass a quick visual inspection, but it doesn’t mean your car complies with emission regulations. If your vehicle has an ongoing emission-related problem, it will likely fail an emissions test. Not only does this contribute to environmental pollution, but it can also result in fines.
- Difficulty diagnosing future problems: When the check engine light is cleared without addressing the underlying issue, it becomes more challenging to diagnose future problems accurately. Mechanics rely on diagnostic codes stored in the vehicles computer system to pinpoint specific issues. If the codes are cleared, it erases vital information that could assist in diagnosing related problems later on, leading to increased diagnostic time and costs.
- Warranty implications: If your car is still under warranty, tampering with the check engine light or neglecting necessary repairs can void your warranty coverage. Clearing the check engine light on your own could give the manufacturer grounds to deny warranty claims in the future.
Clearing the check engine light without addressing the underlying issue can compromise safety, lead to more significant damage, result in emissions non-compliance, hinder future diagnostics, and potentially void warranty coverage. It is best to consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem indicated by the check engine light.