If you are like many other drivers on the road, the idea of a flashing orange light appearing on your dash is enough to cause mild panic. After all, anything from an obscured sensor to a failing Ford Focus alternator can trigger an engine malfunction light. Learning more about what to do in case it happens can help put your mind at ease. 

Understanding the Fear of Sudden Car Breakdowns

A good place to start is understanding what drives your fear of a sudden breakdown. It could be any number of things, such as:

  • Being stranded in a remote location
  • Not making it to work or school on time
  • The potential cost of repairs

Once you know what drives your fear, you can then take steps to address it. For example, be sure you have an emergency roadside kit with supplies if you are stranded or a fully charged cell phone. 

Performing Preventative Maintenance To Minimize Breakdowns

If you are concerned about the potential repair costs after a warning light comes on, you can take steps to help avoid one. Preventative maintenance is crucial to keeping your car in top shape. It can’t eliminate all potential issues, but it can reduce the likelihood of one popping up while you are behind the wheel.

Always perform the vehicle’s recommended maintenance on schedule. Be aware that certain conditions, such as heavy towing or dusty conditions, may increase the frequency that certain things must be done. Regular oil and air filter changes can go a long way to keeping your car in good shape, as will planned brake, transmission, and coolant flushes. They are also great opportunities for spotting potential problems before they trip a warning light. 

Addressing the Issue Promptly

Ignoring a check engine light will not make it go away, so don’t wait until a small problem becomes a major one before taking action. If an engine malfunction light does come on, you should take steps to address it right away. 

Getting a Vehicle Diagnostic Scan

Getting a vehicle diagnostic scan was once only possible at a repair shop. Now, however,r you can do ti right at home. If you don’t want to invest in a scan tool, you can take your car to most auto repair shops and they will run a scan for you. 

A diagnostic scanner checks the car’s computer for error codes. Once you have a code, you can look it up to see what problem it indicates. Keep in mind that many codes could result from several different problems, so you may still have to do a little digging to find out what is causing the engine malfunction light. 

Finding the Right Parts To Fix the Problem

Once you establish the problem, you can begin repairs. Luckily, you don’t have to be a trained auto technician to familiarize yourself with important parts. Auto parts stores have many helpful resources, including repair guides with a complete car wiring diagram to help ensure you get the correct parts for your car. 

Don’t let anxiety about an engine warning light keep you from enjoying your car. Taking a few precautions and knowing what to do if one comes on can help you prepare for the situation and overcome your fear.