Is Your Car’s Check Engine Light On? What Does It Mean?

Although our cars can’t talk, they communicate with us through chimes, icons, and messages.

One icon that should never be ignored is the orange, engine-shaped one usually found in the instrument cluster. This icon lights up when the car’s onboard computer detects a problem. And therefore, it is important to immediately find out what’s going on.

Now having faced with such a situation, you don’t want to delay things as it may worsen the problem, but at the same time, you also don’t want to panic.

So, let’s understand what lighting up of this icon means. Here are some common reasons why the check engine light might turn on:


One of the most common reasons why the check engine light turns on is a loose fuel cap. You need to check for this, and if it is so, then the obvious next step is to tighten the fuel cap. It will usually make a sound like a ratchet when it has been tightened enough


There are oxygen sensors, also called lambda sensors, in the car’s exhaust. They monitor the amount of unburnt oxygen in the exhaust and help the car’s computer (the ECU) change the air/fuel mixture to the optimal mix for the best fuel efficiency, response, and emissions.


This doesn’t happen very often but removing and inspecting the spark plug will tell you if they need replacement. Make sure you get plugs of the same heat range as the originals – or better yet, leave it to a trained Ford technician.


These are high tension cables that carry many tens of thousands of volts to the spark plugs, so please do not try to replace them yourself. However, do get them replaced at a Ford Authorised Service Centre to keep your Ford running optimally.


You will need to have your catalytic converter inspected and possibly replaced. This is a vital component of your emissions system, so do it as soon as possible.


A mass airflow sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine. Just like the oxygen sensor in the exhaust, it allows the car’s ECU to calculate the right amount of fuel to send to the engine. If your mass airflow (MAF) sensor is faulty, you will need to replace it with a new one.

And if you drive a Ford, an easy and convenient way for you to get a fix on this issue is simply to Dial-A-Ford at 1800-419-3000 and schedule a service appointment to get your car checked and serviced for any troubles from the comfort of your home.

While you can check if your fuel cap is loose, it will be quite difficult for you to ascertain whether the rest of the components, such as your spark plugs and/or sensors are working well without specialist knowledge and tools.

That is why Ford has a wide network of service centres ready to help you if you face issues like the engine check light turning on. We have the right tools and personnel to diagnose the problem quickly and efficiently, and our Ford Genuine Parts ensure your peace of mind while remaining affordable.