Reasons your amber engine management light is on

Reasons your amber engine management light is on
What should you do if your engine management light (EML) is on? The amber EML symbol is an important dashboard light and it may indicate that your car has a problem that could result in a break down or an MOT failure.

If your engine management light (EML) has come on, then it's important that you do not ignore it. The EML may be affected by a sensor within the engine or emissions system. 

In this guide, we give you the know how to identify common engine management light (EML) causes and solutions. 

What does the amber engine management light (EML) mean?

The EML will usually illuminate when you start the vehicle and then switch off after a few seconds. However, if the EML stays on or starts flashing then it may indicate an issue with either the engine itself or one of the systems that links to it.

Your car's dashboard has a range of lights and notifications but the engine management light or EML is very important.

All drivers who see the EML light should take their vehicle to a trusted local garage as soon as possible, or call for a mobile mechanic to carry out the necessary repairs.

Can I drive with the engine management light on?

Although it is usually possible to drive with your engine management light (EML) on, it is strongly advisable to have the problem investigated and fixed by a mechanic as soon as possible.

If the EML light appears on your dashboard, then there is an issue that needs to be immediately addressed. Continuing to drive with the light on will likely lead to further damage to the engine and the surrounding systems – as well as an immediate drop in performance.

In some cases, it might be a minor fault that requires a quick fix – but getting it seen to as quick as possible will save you from further damaging the vehicle. It will also help you save money in the long run.

What causes the engine management light to come on?

Modern vehicles are complicated, with many electrical components that feed into the engine and drivetrain – and sometimes they can have issues or faults.

Here are a few common problems to watch out for.

Reason 1 – catalytic converter

This vital part of the engine that controls emissions coming from the vehicle, if it fails or has a connection issue, then the catalytic converter will cause the engine management light to appear on your dashboard.

Reason 2 – ignition system

This can include problems with spark plugs, ignition coils or any other part of the starter motor of the vehicle. There are also several electrical systems that feed into this part of the vehicle. If they also have issues, then the light will appear.

Reason 3 – clutch

If your clutch is slipping, or sensors within the gear system are faulty, then you will see the engine management light. However, if you see this, take your car to a garage immediately.

Reason 4 – engine misfire

Some parts of the engine can overheat, leading to an engine misfire – or a sudden juddering engine while out on the roads. This will make the light appear on the dashboard.

Reason 5 – faulty sensors

Although the four points above come with sensors – there are many more installed across any vehicle. If these are linked to major parts of the engine or electrical system, then it will cause the light to come on.

How to reset engine management light

In most cases, the engine management light (EML) will reset itself after the issue has been resolved.

Most modern vehicles will have an on-board computer that constantly analyse the state of the engine and electrical systems – and will inform the driver of anything that they will need to address.

If there are no issues, then the light should turn off by itself. However, in some cases, the EML may remain on – but this may be due to the original fault still causing issues, or a new one appearing.

The best thing to do is to take your car to the garage again and get a mechanic to check.

However, in some cases, the light may remain on due to an electrical fault.

You’ll need to remove the battery, and then reattach it before turning the engine on.

If the light is still on, then a mechanic may need to use an ‘On Board Diagnostic Scanner’, which can pinpoint the problem. They will then give you the best options to resolve it.

Will the RAC come out for engine management light issues?

If you can see the engine management light (EML) appear on your dashboard, then the RAC can help.

For drivers who are unsure on what to do next, call for a mobile mechanic. They will carry out a vehicle diagnostic check on your vehicle to see if the engine management system has any faults.

If any repairs are needed to resolve the issue, they will either provide a report on the problem for you to keep – or they can carry out the work.

Should the problem need to be resolved in a trusted local garage, then they will suggest you to visit them, and what is needed to get your vehicle back out on the road.

Do you have any questions about engine management warning lights? Leave them in the comments below.

Is an engine management light an MOT failure?

The engine management light (EML) is considered a Major fault for most cars and will usually result in an MOT failure.

If you own an older or classic car, it may not be subject to an EML inspection during its MOT test.

For example, diesels that were registered before 1 July 2008 and petrols that were registered before 1 July 2003 are exempt from the EML part of the MOT.

Learn more about why the MOT and knowing what your EML mean are important.

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Engine Management Light (EML) FAQs

  • What is an EML light?

    EML stands for Engine management light. This is a major fault with your engine and is something that should be seen by a mechanic as soon as possible.

  • How to remove EML light

    You cannot remove your Engine Management Light. However, if the light remains on, turn your engine on and off to allow the system to reset. If it remains, take your vehicle to your local garage as there may be a more serious problem.

  • If my EML light is on, will I fail my MOT?

    If your Engine Management Light stays on, then you will fail your annual MOT - as this is a sign of a major fault.

  • What to do Engine management lamp stays on?

    Your EML lamp is the sign of a major issue with your engine and something that should be addressed immediately. Once resolved, the lamp will turn off.