It’s not as nerve-racking as a triggered CEL, but a check gauge light can be difficult to diagnose and fix.
To get this alert to disappear from your instrument panel, you need to tighten your gas cap, have your pockets run dry on an engine rebuild or both.
This article will give you more insight into what sets off this warning light and how to resolve it.
At least one of your vehicle’s gauge readings is out of range if the check gauge light on your dash is any indication.
The affected gauge will usually illuminate along with this warning.
Simple to complex solutions can be used to fix the problem, depending on how well you take care of your vehicle.
Contrary to popular belief, resetting the Check Gauge light doesn’t just involve refilling your oil or coolant levels.
It isn’t always as hard to rebuild your vehicle’s engine as it is to access the radiators. I am confident that you will pick up some helpful information if you read this guide.
What Is The Meaning Of Check Gauges Light?
The check gauge light is set off by the power module to warn the driver of a problem.
It indicates one of two things, either the car’s gauge has a reading that deviates from normal operating parameters, or oil pressure/coolant temperatures are approaching hazardous levels.
There is a yellow/amber, orange, or red hue on the instrument cluster when the check gauge light is on.
The tell-tale/idiot light can mean anything from low oil pressure or charging system anomalies to a fuel tank issue.
The below gauge in a low-/high-line cluster in Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, and Wrangler models could have an out-of-range reading.
- Coolant temperature gauge
- Fuel gauge
- Oil pressure gauge
- Trip odometer
While the color of the check gauge light is indicative of a suspected problem, savvy car owners advise checking the dash to see if the gauge is missing.
As a driver, you would want to inspect the gauge for water level, brake fluid level, engine oil level, and tire pressure first, as they are likely to result in an on-road emergency if not caught early.
In the event of a strange gauge reading, most Ford F-150s have a visible check gauge light on. But for Jeeps, this indicator is very small.
Owners need to be aware of the type of instrument panel their Jeep has, as well as its circuit schematic.
The resolution which often includes servicing or repairing the 44’s relay center or fuse block module is important in the proper diagnosis of a triggered check gauge light.
How to Fix This Issue?
Understanding what causes the check gauge light to light up is crucial to resolving the problem.
There are tons of Diagnostic Trouble Codes in your car’s repository that can be used to help in this situation.
There are many reasons why an illuminated check gauge light and their corresponding fixes are illuminated.
Low Oil Pressure
When starting a car, oil pressure that is slow to come up to spec would cause the check gauge to light up, but not during restarts.
When this happens, the oil light illuminates along with the check gauge light for all types of vehicles.
One of the most common reasons is that an oil filter may be leaking oil back into the engine, taking the oil pump a while to refill what is missing.
A bad oil pressure sensor is a possibility. Ambient temperature and the oil inside your vehicle are factors.
The oil pressure comes up quickly when the light indicators reset because systems are primed when you restart.
It is possible to know if your engine is too hot to operate with your temperature gauge. The check gauge light goes off when the temperature in the vehicle reaches outlier levels.
If there is a crack in the seam of the radiator or something that impairs the cooling of the engine, it can cause the engine to heat up.
There are symptoms of reduced power delivery and a burning coolant smell. You may notice that the coolant level depletes more quickly than usual.
It is important to understand that because the engine produces a lot of heat and vibration, your car’s cooling system and its components can easily fail or leak (the reason a blown head gasket is so common).
You might end up with a damaged cylinder head or engine block.
Extra caution is required when dealing with an overheated engine problem. You need to replace the faulty parts immediately.
To show accurate readings for your car’s electrical gauge, fully functional sensors or sending units are needed. The reverse would be done by a malfunctioning O2 sensor.
It would cause a lot of other things, such as reduced fuel economy, damaged catalytic converter, damaged spark plugs, and emissions test failure, among others.
An out-of-range reading can be caused by a faulty oil-sending unit. If you send the faulty sensor and replace it immediately, it will help set your electrical gauge right.
Loose Gas Cap
Similar to CEL, this can also prompt a check gauge light. An ill-fitting gas cap causes the fuel delivery system to be disrupted and leads to the loss of fuel.
To turn the light off, simply tighten the cap or replace the O-ring with a gas cap. If that isn’t possible, you may need to refill at the nearest pump station.
The thermostat fails to regulate the flow of coolant to the engine when it’s malfunctioning or has a leak.
In addition, it contributes to a contaminated/corrosive coolant that causes an engine to overheat.
If there is damage to the thermostat and ECT sensor, adding coolant to the reservoir will usually resolve the thermostat issues.
Bad Water Pump
A bad water pump can cause your belt to freeze and cause your gauge to go erratic.
The easiest way to get to the water pump in most cars is to remove the upper radiator hose, connect the fan to the harness on top of the shroud, and get the fan, clutch, and shroud out altogether.
It will have to be wrestled a bit without damaging the neck or puncturing the radiator.
The vacuum system is important to the smooth operation of your vehicle, as it performs a wide variety of functions.
When this system is upset, your car would start to surge at high speeds, causing phantom problems, and even causing a Check Gauge light to illuminate.
A vacuum or pressure gauge is already included in some vehicles.
The gauge has a manifold one. If your car doesn’t have one yet, you can use an aftermarket vacuum gauge to keep the health of your engine in check.
Depending on the number of blown fuses in your vehicle, it could affect more than one gauge and cause the check gauge to light up.
Thankfully, this is one of the easiest to access and fix. It’s a good idea to make sure there’s no power to the fuse box or the ignition.
It’s a good idea to swap out the blown fuse with a same-amperage replacement when you see broken metal strips.
Charging System Issue
Lifting your foot off the pedals and pressing on the brakes can cause the car to go crazy. Some people may be comfortable with it.
If you have shorted wiring or dirty battery terminals, you should check your battery and wiring. If the output of your alternator is not causing a battery drain, then use a voltmeter.
Loose Fan Belt
For older Jeep Wranglers that ford through deep water or are driven in cold/wet weather, the Check Gauge light is likely to come on and may even be accompanied by a sound from under the hood.
There is a chance that your vehicle’s alternator will stop charging because of a wet belt. When the weather warms up or the belt dries off, the light goes away.
Make sure to check your accessory drive belt for wear and slippage regularly.
Sometimes an intermittent check gauge light can be a sign of malfunctioning mechanisms. The idiot light illuminates either with an error code or vice-versa.
That doesn’t happen in this situation. There is a chance that the glitch is due to a poor electrical connection or some other problem.
Engine failures and sticky valves are some of the probable causes.
It is a good idea to visually inspect the electrical components for looseness or damage. If it is indeed a malfunction, then duplicate the issue to make sure.
An intermittent Check Gauge light can be a sign of a malfunctioning mechanism. The idiot light illuminates if it has an error code. In this situation, it does not.
There is a possibility that the glitch is due to a poor electrical connection. The probable causes are sticky valves and engine failures.
It’s a good idea to visually inspect electrical components for damage or looseness. If it is a malfunction, duplicate the issue to make sure.
How to Reset?
Complete the Required Cycles
If you want to clear off a Check Gauge light that is triggered, you have to pass a few tests from the PCMC.
For complicated scenarios, you will need to drive for at least 50 miles or complete a minimum of 10 cycles before the alert goes away.
Do the Hard Reset Technique
The approach requires turning the ignition off and then on three more times. It works for low oil pressure when you prime your car’s system on the second and third tries.
It tests if the alert is intermittent and also resets an illuminated check gauge light. It isn’t guaranteed to clear the ‘Check Gauges’ light for good.
Use an OBD-II Code Reader
Most recent versions of the tool can reset the Check gauge light, but not all.
If you want to remove a fault code from your car, plug it into the OBD port beneath the steering column or control panel.
If your vehicle is a 1997-present model, you should be able to use any Scan tool that has the described feature.
Pre-1996 cars mayn’t have an OBD port or require a different code reader.
How Long Will It Take To Reset Check Gauge Light?
The time it takes for the check gauge light to disappear from your instrument panel is similar to that of the CEL.
Depending on the fault code that came with the alert and the severity of the issue, the time it takes to clear the warning light can be anywhere from a few spins around the block to having your car complete 10 to 20 successful cycles.
Diagnostic scans can help reset the light quicker.
Is It Safe To Drive With the Check Gauge Light On?
It depends on whether the check gauge light is turned off.
If it is due to low washer fluid levels, there is no danger in continuing to drive, provided all vehicle systems are still working fine.
Pulling over and investigating what triggered the alert is the best way to go.
100 miles is the driving limit for low tire pressure, you also need to drive slow enough not to cause the state of your tires to get worse.
Since it harms drivability, it is best to stop driving when near a pump or service station.
Staying where you are and calling for help if the latter is too far is what you should do.
Staying calm is the first thing you should do when clearing off the check gauge light from your dashboard.
If the gauge affects a non-critical facet of your vehicle, focus on getting to the nearest pump station and going from there.
Pull over to the nearest roadside to assess what is happening and take out your mechanical gauge if necessary.
If unsure, ask for help from a mechanic. Don’t risk permanent engine damage or an accident by riding the road with a severely compromised system.
Truck driver by profession, automotive lover by heart. Ricky is the main publisher and editor at Truckile.com sharing his life-long knowledge and experience in the auto industry and truck driving!