Does a Check Engine Light Mean My Car is Totaled?

A Check Engine Light, or Malfunctioning Indicator Lamp (MIL), is an important safety component in every vehicle. All modern make and model vehicles are designed with a Check Engine Light feature, which are incorporated to alert drivers when something is not quite right with the operation and systems in the vehicle. Because an illuminated Check Engine Light means that something is wrong, often times, car owners begin to panic when theirs comes on. Sometimes, a Check Engine Light can remain illuminated even after having a car repaired. In this situation, you might be asking yourself whether or not your car is worth repairing.

Continue reading to learn what a Check Engine Light could mean, including when it could mean that your car is totaled.

Sell Us Your Totaled Car! 317-608-2188
Sell Us Your Totaled Car! 317-608-2188

Reasons Why Check Engine Lights Come On

The spectrum of issues that cause a Malfunctioning Indicator Lamp to illuminate range from minor to major. Some vehicles have two types of MIL’s, one that is solid and one that is flashing, both of which mean different warnings. Furthermore, some cars have two different colors of Malfunctioning Indicator Lamps; a yellow icon to indicate a problem, as well as, a red icon for a very serious problem that requires you to stop driving immediately.

Here’s Why Yours Might Be On Right Now:

? Loose Gap Cap – This is by far the most common minor reason why a Check Engine Light might illuminate. If you just filled up your tank, chances are, your Check Engine Light came on because your gas cap came off.

? Spark Plugs – If your car jolts or vibrates as its operating, and the Check Engine Light comes on, it could mean that your spark plugs are defective. If your car is driving abnormally, immediately pull over and call a tow truck.

? Low Fluids – If your vehicle is low on radiator fluid (coolant), motor oil, or another vital automotive fluid, your Check Engine Light might come on. Have your oil changed, and during the appointment, have all other fluids flushed and replaced.

? Oxygen (O2) Sensor (O2) – If your Check Engine Light comes on, and you know it’s not the gas cap or fluid levels, it could be because your oxygen sensor needs to be replaced. This part is responsible for measuring the level of unburned oxygen in the exhaust system.

? Catalytic Converter – If your catalytic converter is experiencing any type of problem, your Check Engine Light will let you know.

? Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) – Another common cause for an illuminated Check Engine Light is a defective mass airflow sensor (MAF). If this sensor is the problem, a simple replacement will turn that Check Engine Light back off.

When it Means a Car is Totaled

There are cases in which an illuminated Check Engine Light can mean that a car is totaled. If the Check Engine Light comes on because of something that requires extensive repairs or replacements that cost more than the overall value of the vehicle, the insurance company will likely deem the car a total loss. See our blog, “FAQS About Total Loss Cars and Claims” to learn more about total loss vehicles.

What You Can Do With a Totaled Car

Call GC’s Junk Cars at 317-608-2188 to get paid cash for your totaled car in Indianapolis. Our Indiana junk car buyers offer free towing with our in-house tow truck, so all you have to do is call and accept our offer! We will schedule a time to pick up your vehicle and pay you cash. No title? No problem! Give us a call anyway! Call 317-608-2188 to request a free estimate, today.

GC’s Junk Cars
GC’s Junk Cars 317-608-2188