I get a lot of questions about “check engine” lights on dashboards. Either people have no idea what it is; or they have checked their manual and know “exactly” what it is. The truth is the only way to know for sure is to have it checked by a code reader.
Some manuals do write that it is something specific to that vehicle; but it’s just not true and I have no idea why they put that. For instance, I’ve had people tell me that the check engine light came on and their manual said it was an EVAP (emissions leak) code. But there are many different codes that can be produced; so I don’t understand why they pigeon hole it to that. Many manuals will just say to rush immediately to the dealer and do not pass go. Of course you should do that if you’d like to overpay.
Most of the codes are universal…a P0300 is a random misfire in most cars, however many variables in each vehicle can change the actual diagnosis. If a check engine light comes up on your dashboard don’t panic, especially if your vehicle isn’t acting up in any way. Make your way to your local mechanic and have it checked out. As a matter of fact, why don’t you ask them what the code is so you can Google it yourself. It never hurts to learn something!