Can You Sell a Car With Check Engine Light On?

If you’re selling your car, you might think that the check engine light is going to be a deal-breaker.

If there’s something wrong with your car, there are many reasons why people will buy cars with check engine lights and not all of them are bad reasons!

The check engine light doesn’t always mean that something is wrong with your car.

It’s just a way for mechanics to let you know that something needs to be checked out by a professional.

So even if you’ve been told that something needs fixing and you don’t want to worry about it anymore, there may still be plenty of mileage left in your ride.

What is the Check Engine Light?

The check engine light is a warning light that comes on when there’s something wrong with your car’s emissions system, or with the way it runs.

The light comes on when you turn the ignition and will either go off after a few or stay on if there’s an issue.

If it stays on, it means you need to get your car checked out at an auto repair shop as soon as possible.

If you’re thinking about selling your car and want to know whether or not you should inform potential buyers about any problems with the vehicle before they buy it, we say absolutely.

You don’t want to be stuck with someone else’s problem and if you’ve already done some repairs, then why not let them know.

What does the check engine light mean?

The check engine light can mean different things to different cars, but there are some generalities that apply to most vehicles.

When the light goes on, it means the car’s computer has detected a problem with one or more of its sensors.

It may be that those sensors are dirty or not functioning properly, or it could be that they’re damaged by age or improper use.

If you ignore the problem and keep driving your car, as usual, you run a significant risk of damaging other parts of your vehicle and even causing an accident.

How can you tell if the check engine light is on?

You’ll need to look at the dashboard, which will be lit up with a series of lights and symbols.

The check engine light will be red and located either on top of or just below the speedometer.

There may also be one or two other lights surrounding it.

Why do you need to fix your check engine light?

If you have an active recall for your vehicle, then you should absolutely fix it as soon as possible.

Having an illuminated check engine light can be a sign of a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

A P0420 code means there’s a problem with your catalytic converter and it might not pass emissions inspections in some states.

If you don’t have any recalls or other serious issues with your car, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to sell it with an illuminated check engine light.

But before doing so, make sure that the seller understands what this means and what might need fixing and make sure they are willing to fix it before purchasing the vehicle!

What causes the light to come on?

There are many reasons that your check engine light could come on in your car.

The most common cause is an issue with the gas cap if it’s loose or cracked, you’ll see the light come on after filling up at a gas station.

  • Oxygen sensor
  • Fuel injector
  • Catalytic converter
  • Mass airflow sensor
  • Clogged fuel filter or dirty fuel injectors
  • An exhaust leak
  • Faulty sensors or electronics


If your car’s check engine light is on, take it to a nearby auto parts store or dealer for a free diagnostic test.

Be sure to ask the technician if they can give you an estimate for repairs before you have them fix the problem.

Steven Hatman
Steven Hatman

We break down every information into easy-to-understand articles that cover all the categories anyone who owns a car needs to know about, such as oil , brakes , tires and etc. Our car guide is free and updated regularly for you to use as a resource, not only when you have an issue with your car but even before buying a new or used car! We also give tips on what to look for in each category or part of your vehicle.