Q:

What is a malfunction indicator lamp?

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Quick Answer

A malfunction indicator lamp is another name for the "Check Engine" light on an automobile. This illumination is also known as a malfunction indicator lamp, or MIL, and is typically indicative of a problem in a car's engine.

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Full Answer

In a vehicle equipped with on-board diagnostics, the MIL can indicate several things. If the light is steady and not flashing, it may just let the driver know that there is a small problem, such as a loose gas cap. If the light is flashing, this indicates to the driver that there is a severe problem with the car and that the car should be serviced as soon as possible. A flashing light could indicate possible damage to the catalytic converter. In either case, a driver should not ignore the check engine light

To have a check engine light diagnosed, a driver can take the automobile to a mechanic or garage with a diagnostic hookup. There is a code within the computerized engine system that will let the technician know exactly what the problem is. However, a driver should first check to see if the gas cap is faulty or loose. Malfunction indicators can also be tripped by a sudden change in weather and humidity. However, if the light stays on, the driver should have the car tested.

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