Consequences Of Driving With The Emissions Light ON

Every car light signal has significance, and when it gets lit, there is surely something that your car wants to convey. One of such lights is the emissions light which may turn ON. If you are in a dilemma as to stop over or continue driving, here, we will help you know the truth.

What Does The “ON” Emissions Light Indicate?

The lights and signals that appear on the dashboard exist for a purpose. Yes, the lit emission light on car can mean a lot many things! 

Though there is not much risk with the light coming ON, you should not ignore what your car’s system is trying to tell you. 

Before you know about the safety of driving with the emissions light “ON,” it is essential to understand why the light pop-up. Here are some reasons.

1. Merely A Sensor Error

When the emission light comes “ON,” but there are no interruptions in how your car operates, there is an issue with the sensor. 

This, in turn, means that there are no potential risks that you have to look after. It is a common system failure that leads to the dashboard light malfunctioning.

To be on the safer side, it is always recommended to visit a mechanic. Sometimes there could be some internal issues that may go unnoticed to the eye. 

In that case, a vehicles’ expert would be the right person to contact. These professionals can help you unravel the mystery behind the glowing emissions light.

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emissions light on
An errored sensor can be the reason for Emissions Light on. (Photo: baloon111/123RF)

2. Faulty Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve

The Exhaust gas recirculation valve or aptly the EGR help circulate the exhaust gas from the engine back for combustion again. 

The valve ensures that the fuel gets entirely utilized and the exit of the exhaust gasses into the environment diminishes. In simple words, the EGR helps regulate the car’s emissions into the atmosphere.

When the EGR system turns faulty for one reason or the other, the emissions control lamp is likely to turn ON. 

That is why it is essential to visit a mechanic who would inspect the system and replace the EGR valve if required. Refer to maintenance tips for a DIY process to clean EGR valves.

3. Malfunctioning Vacuum Hose

A rubber tube connection that attaches a manifold vacuum to various components in a car is a vacuum hose. 

It is one component that holds the capability to power car components, calling the need for installing many of them. 

One should know that as the vacuum is a rubber component, it may develop cracks or even get disconnected.

This can be another reason that the emission control system warning light lights up. Though there wouldn’t be much risk if the vacuum hose malfunctions, replacing it should never be overlooked. 

Consider replacing vacuum hoses when the emission icon lighting up is accompanied with engine speed fluctuations, or you notice dwindling of the fuel mileage.

Secrets of emissions light
A rubber tube connection that attaches a manifold vacuum to various components in a car is a vacuum hose. (Photo: WikiHow)

Is It Safe To Drive With Emissions Light ON?

Most of the time, it is safe to drive when the emissions light is ON. If emissions light are ON, but there is no issue with the smooth operation of the car, you need not worry about anything! 

On the other hand, if the car faces problems with mileage, speed, power, and responds slowly to the throttle input; get it checked. It is never a bad idea to send your car for an inspection!

How To Reset The Emission Light?

You should take your automobile to a garage, where it will be thoroughly inspected, the problem will be resolved, and the light will be turned off for you. 

If the light does not turn off automatically, you can try the ways listed below. It is critical that you resolve the issue rather than merely resetting your light without investigating any potential reasons.

The simplest way to reset the check engine light is to drive your car regularly and let the light turn off spontaneously. If it hasn’t switched off after three days, turn it on and off three times in a row.

If the Check Emission light (CEL) still does not turn off, detach and reattach the battery. While the engine is turned off, unplug the positive power cable with a wrench and leave it for 20 minutes. 

Turn the ignition key to the ‘ON’ position. Reconnect the positive battery cable and turn the key in the ignition; the CEL should be gone within a few minutes.

Check Emission system
If the CEL still does not turn off, detach and reattach the battery. (Photo: Vehicle Freak)

If none of these solutions work, you should take your car to a shop so that a specialist can reset your light. 

They will also conduct thorough diagnostics to establish the actual source of the illumination in the first place and whether your automobile has any faults.

FAQs on Emission Light ON

  1. How long can you drive while the emissions light is ON?

When you notice the check engine light, it is safe to drive for 50 to 100 miles with the light on. 

This is because, if the problem is with the sensors, turning off the check engine light will buy some time for it to reset. If the light remains on, search the computer for the relevant error codes.

  1. Is there a severe problem with light emissions ON?

A steady light suggests that you should have your car inspected soon, but a flickering CEL advises that you need to have your vehicle evaluated by a professional right away.

  1. What is the cost to repair a broken check emission system light?

It is impossible to estimate the cost of repairing the check emissions system message without first identifying the issue.

It might be as easy as a broken gas cap, which costs between $10 and $30, or it can be caused by a faulty catalytic converter, which costs $1,500 or more. 

  1. Can faulty spark plugs result in poor emissions in cars?

Yes. Misfires in the combustion process can be caused by faulty spark plugs, resulting in unburned fuel exiting the engine through the exhaust. The oxygen sensor will identify this as harmful emissions.

  1. Does an emissions light indicate an oil change?

The presence of an illuminated emissions light can be the indication that your car needs an oil change. It may trigger if the oil is excessively filthy or if there is insufficient flow throughout the engine.

In the end, the automobile emission light is a useful tool for car owners. It might assist you in narrowing down the possible reasons for your car problems. The sooner you identify the emissions problem and have it repaired, the sooner you can go back on the road.

For more helpful car maintenance tips, follow Car From Japan today.