How Long Can You Drive With Check Engine Light On?

You may have faced this tricky situation very often. While going to work or coming back home late, the check engine light suddenly comes on. And if there are another few kilos to go, then the question arises how long can you drive with the engine light on?

Such a situation like this confuses us a lot. We can't figure out whether it's safe to drive with it.

At this, we sometimes do silly things. But, knowing the appropriate solution to this can help us handle the situation.

Can You Drive With Check Engine Light On?

Can You Drive With Check Engine Light On

You can undoubtedly drive for another 50 to 100 miles with the check engine light on. If your car is going smoothly without performing strangely, then you can drive to your destination.

But, there are a few facts that should be considered. The check engine light comes on sometimes because of overheating or misfiring. 

At this, all you have to do is find a safe place and stop the car. If the engine is overheated, it needs to be stopped. And then, start again. You have to divide the required miles limit into several trips.

When a check engine light comes on, that means there's something wrong with the emission systems. And, at that time, if your car is moving smoothly, then stop the engine for a while then keep moving. Once you reach home, get your vehicle checked by a professional as soon as you can.

Is It Safe To Drive With Check Engine Light On?

Is It Safe To Drive With Check Engine Light On

Well! That's the central question you indeed wanted to ask. And the answer depends on how your car is performing.

We have mentioned above how you can deal with it if the check engine light comes on. But what would you do if it's more dangerous than that? And how would you figure out whether it's safe? We hope you can find all your answers below.

  • Did I recently pump gas:

It's the first question to ask yourself to determine whether it's safe to drive with the Check Engine Light on.

A loose gas cap can be the reason that the check engine light comes on. Once you park the car to stop the engine, think about it as the first troubleshooting step.

  • Did the car jolt or vibrate:

If your car vibrates, it could be the issue with spark plugs. If it shakes while driving and makes it difficult to go, it would be best to call for a tow truck. Because of the odd physical movements with your car, it is certainly not safe to drive.

So, if you plunge into a situation like this, schedule an appointment with the mechanic as soon as possible.

  • Did I hear any strange noises with the check engine lights on:

It's another question to ask yourself because any strange noise with jolting is not a sign of safety to drive your car. Hearing any weird sounds in your vehicle, go for repairs as soon as you can.

  • Is the light flashing:

There are two kinds of Check Engine Lights in most vehicles. One is a solid light, and the other is a flashing light. A flashing light is a sign of a more severe problem.

It will help if you don't drive once you notice a flashing light on your dashboard. And with the solid check engine light, you're safe to drive.

  • Different colors, different meanings:

Notice the color of the check engine light appears with. If you see a yellow check engine light, you can drive apparently, but you have to meet the mechanic soon.

But the red check engine light clearly says you have to stop the engine immediately.

So, these are the stuff that will let you know whether it's safe to drive with the check engine light on. And the most crucial thing which is undoubtedly safe is approaching with a cool head in this sort of situation.

If your car doesn't perform any strange things and runs the way it has been moving and creates no smells or sound, then driving your car with the check engine light on will be safe.

Reason Why Check Engine Light Comes On

Reason Why Check Engine Light Comes On

The primary reason the check engine light comes on is because of the emissions problem. Specifically, there are lots of issues to discuss. In this part of our essay, you can learn more about why the check engine light comes on.

  • Bad Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter controls the emission system of your car. It converts carbon monoxide and toxic gases that come out of your vehicle into less dangerous byproducts. And if something wrong happens with the converter, then the check engine light comes on.

  • Bad Fuel Or Gas Cap

A bad or cracked gas cap is another reason why the check engine light comes on. And a lousy fuel cap allows the fuel vapor to exit from the tank. As a result, the check engine light comes on.

If you replace the wrong cap or tighten them, it will solve the problem. But you have to figure it out with a professional hand.

  • Bad Spark Plugs

We know the spark plugs are crucial components of a car engine. And if the spark plugs don't work well, the check engine light automatically comes on.

If you don't check them for months, they will start to interrupt. And if it starts to bother you too much, replace them immediately.

  • Bad Mass Airflow Sensor

A faulty Bad Mass Airflow Sensor can also turn the check engine light on. If it gets dirty or doesn't install correctly, it triggers the check engine light on. It's not an emergency case, though, but if you find out, it's the issue with the Mass Airflow Sensor, repair it with a professional. Remember, it's a highly technical issue.

  • Bad Ignition Coil

A burning ignition coil or the shortening of it causes the check engine light on. Mainly, the ignition coil converts the voltage of the car to the required volts.

And it induces the spark plug to produce sparks that burn the fuel inside the cylinder. The whole process can not work if the ignition coil gets void.

If the check engine light keeps lighting on and you can't find any clue of its reason, then ask the mechanic to check into the ignition coil. It will help if you take a cautious look at that.


Driving with the check engine light is safe until it becomes a terrifying issue. So, firstly you must observe the behavior of your car whether it's acting something odd.

If you feel everything is fine as before, except the check engine light is on, then you can drive further. But the trick of the separate trips is a must-do.

I hope you get the answer. Having any other questions in mind, feel free to ask through our comment box. We can assure you we will come with an answer that is going to be helpful to you.

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