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Decoding Dashboard Lights: What Your Car is Trying to Tell You

Key Takeaways

  • Dashboard lights are essential indicators of potential issues or statuses within your vehicle.
  • Understanding these symbols can prevent minor problems from escalating.
  • Regular maintenance and timely action based on dashboard lights can extend your car’s lifespan.
  • Consult your car’s manual or professionals when you need clarification on a light’s meaning.

We’ve all been there – a mysterious icon lights up on your dashboard, and immediate panic ensues. Is it a simple reminder? Or is it a sign of something seriously amiss? 

Welcome to the world of dashboard lights, your car’s primary communication tool. Let’s decode these symbols so the next time one lights up, you’re informed, not alarmed. 

Considering a new vehicle? Visit Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin to explore our top-notch options.

Understanding the Basics of Dashboard Lights

Why are dashboard lights important? Dashboard lights are more than just pretty symbols; they’re your car’s way of communicating its health and needs. Think of them as your vehicle’s vital signs, reflecting everything from engine performance to tire pressure.

Dashboard lights follow a general color code:

Green/Blue: These indicate that a specific feature or system is active or functioning normally.

Yellow/Orange: A warning sign; something might need attention soon.

Red: Immediate attention is required. It might indicate a serious malfunction or safety concern.

Common Dashboard Lights and Their Meanings

Navigating the array of dashboard lights can be like deciphering a cryptic code, but fear not, for we’re here to shed light on the most common dashboard symbols and their meanings.

Engine Light (Yellow/Orange) 

This little engine icon can mean a myriad of things. It might be a minor issue like a faulty sensor or something more serious like an engine misfire. When this light appears, consider having your vehicle checked sooner rather than later.

Tire Pressure Warning Light (Yellow/Orange) 

Resembling a flat tire, it’s a warning that one or more of your tires might be under-inflated. Regularly check and maintain the correct tire pressure to ensure vehicle safety.

Oil Pressure Warning (Red)

If you see a dripping oil can icon, it’s signaling low oil pressure. This is crucial because your engine requires oil to run smoothly. It’s advisable to stop driving and consult a professional immediately.

Battery Alert (Red)

Represented by a battery symbol, it indicates a potential problem with your car’s charging system. It might be a dying battery, a malfunctioning alternator, or other related issues.

Brake Warning Light (Red)

This signifies a serious problem with your brakes or brake fluid levels. Given that brakes are essential for safety, it’s imperative to address this warning immediately.

When in Doubt, Consult

Each car manufacturer might have specific symbols or variations for their models. The best source of truth is the vehicle manual that comes with your car. 

It contains detailed explanations for each dashboard light. If you’re unsure or the manual isn’t handy, it’s always best to seek professional advice.

Advanced Dashboard Symbols

As we delve deeper into the intricate world of dashboard symbols, we unveil the mysteries behind advanced dashboard indicators, equipping you with the knowledge to decode their significance and ensure your vehicle’s optimal performance.

Anti-lock Brake Warning (Yellow/Orange)

Illustrated by the letters “ABS” inside a circle, this light alerts you of issues with your anti-lock brake system. While you can still use your brakes, the anti-lock feature, which prevents wheel lock-up during sudden stops, might be compromised.

Airbag Warning (Red)

A person seated with a big circle (representing an airbag) in front indicates a fault in the airbag system. It’s essential to address this immediately as it can affect the deployment of airbags in case of an accident.

Coolant Temperature Warning (Red)

This symbol looks a bit like a thermometer submerged in liquid. If it lights up, it means your engine might be overheating. It’s best to stop and let the engine cool down before assessing the issue.

Traction Control Light (Yellow/Orange)

When this light – resembling a car with squiggly lines behind it – comes on, it means the traction control system is active. It usually lights up in slippery conditions, ensuring your tires grip the road efficiently.

How to Respond to Dashboard Lights

When those enigmatic dashboard lights illuminate, knowing how to respond is not just about keeping your cool—it’s about safeguarding your car’s health and your peace of mind.

Don’t Panic

The first step is not to panic. Understand the color code. If it’s green or blue, it’s likely a notification. Yellow means caution and red means stop and assess.

Consult the Manual

Your vehicle’s manual contains a wealth of information. Before heading to a mechanic, it might be worth a quick peek to understand the gravity of the situation.

Regular Maintenance

Regular car maintenance checks can preempt many of the issues that cause dashboard lights to come on. Servicing your car at recommended intervals can extend its life and keep those pesky lights at bay.

Leveraging Technology for Modern Solutions

With advancements in car technology, many new vehicles now come with sophisticated diagnostic systems. 

Mobile apps that connect to your car can offer real-time insights into your vehicle’s health, giving detailed explanations of dashboard lights and even suggesting immediate solutions. 

If you’re keen on understanding your car better, investing in such technology can be invaluable.

The Role of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Modern vehicles often come with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) – a suite of safety features designed to augment the driving experience and increase road safety. These systems can also influence dashboard lights. 

Features like lane departure warnings, forward collision alerts, and blind-spot monitoring can have their specific symbols illuminating your dashboard. 

Familiarizing yourself with these can not only help in understanding your vehicle’s status but also in leveraging these features for a safer drive.

Maintenance Lights

Every car comes with a built-in maintenance schedule, usually dictated by mileage or time intervals. This is your vehicle’s way of saying it needs a routine check-up. 

From service engine indicators to reminders for oil changes, these lights don’t signify an immediate problem but rather a recommendation. 

Addressing them promptly can prevent future issues and ensure your vehicle runs smoothly. After all, timely care can mitigate the need for unexpected repairs down the road.


Dashboard lights serve as your car’s language, informing you of its well-being and potential issues. By understanding them, you not only ensure a smoother drive but also prolong the life of your vehicle. 

And remember, every light, whether a simple reminder or a critical warning, is an invitation to action. So, stay informed, stay safe, and drive with confidence. 
For the latest models, top-notch servicing, and expert advice on all things automotive, make Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin your first stop. Your car deserves the best, and so do you!

SUV vs. Sedan: Which is Right for You?

Key Takeaways

  • Differences in Design: SUVs offer a higher seating position; sedans are closer to the ground.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Typically, sedans are more fuel-efficient than SUVs.
  • Storage and Space: SUVs generally provide more cargo space and seating.
  • Drive and Performance: The driving experience differs due to vehicle size and weight.
  • Safety Considerations: Both have unique safety features to consider.
  • Cost Implications: Ownership costs can vary between SUVs and sedans.

Choosing between an SUV and a sedan is more than just a matter of personal preference. It’s about understanding the key differences, benefits, and potential drawbacks of each. 

In the great SUV vs. Sedan debate, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty to help you make an informed choice.

And, if you’re looking for the perfect deal, check out our range at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin. Discover the best deals on SUVs and sedans with us! 

Differences in Design

  • SUV: SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) typically boast a robust and rugged design. With a higher ground clearance, they offer a commanding view of the road. Their design often allows for off-road capabilities and towing, making them versatile choices for adventurous spirits.
  • Sedan: Sedans, on the other hand, have a lower profile, offering a closer-to-the-ground driving experience. This design is often associated with elegance, aerodynamics, and a smoother city driving experience.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel consumption is a crucial factor for many when choosing a vehicle, and these two vehicles differ in this respect based on their functionalities. 

  • SUV: Due to their larger size and weight, SUVs generally consume more fuel than sedans. However, advancements in technology are slowly bridging this gap, with many modern SUVs now offering decent fuel efficiency.
  • Sedan: Sedans typically excel in this area. Their smaller size, lighter weight, and aerodynamic design contribute to better mileage, making them a preferable choice for those prioritizing fuel economy.

Storage and Space

Your vehicle’s storage needs can greatly influence your choice.

  • SUV: One of the main attractions of SUVs is their spacious interiors. They can comfortably accommodate more passengers and offer ample cargo space, making them ideal for larger families or those who frequently travel with a lot of luggage.
  • Sedan: While sedans might not match the sheer space of an SUV, many modern sedans offer surprisingly spacious trunks and cabin space. They’re suitable for smaller families and city dwellers who don’t require extensive cargo space.

Drive and Performance

Driving dynamics can vary significantly between these two vehicle types.

  • SUV: Their larger size means SUVs can sometimes feel bulkier to drive. However, they’re well-suited for rough terrains and offer excellent stability, especially in inclement weather conditions.
  • Sedan: Sedans provide a more connected driving experience. They’re agile, responsive, and generally offer a smoother ride in urban settings.

Safety Considerations

When it comes to safety, both vehicle types have their strengths.

  • SUV: With their bulkier build, many people perceive SUVs as safer. Their elevated driving position can provide better visibility, which might aid in spotting potential road hazards. Furthermore, many modern SUVs come equipped with advanced safety features like lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking.
  • Sedan: Sedans generally have a lower center of gravity, reducing the risk of rollovers – a concern sometimes associated with taller vehicles like SUVs. Additionally, many sedans also come equipped with a plethora of safety features, ensuring protection for their occupants.

Cost Implications

The initial purchase price, as well as long-term ownership costs, can be a deciding factor.

  • SUV: SUVs tend to be priced higher than sedans, especially when looking at base models. Their maintenance and fuel costs might also be steeper due to their larger size and engine requirements.
  • Sedan: Sedans are often more affordable initially. Their fuel efficiency can lead to long-term savings, and maintenance costs are generally lower than their SUV counterparts.

Environmental Concerns

The environment is a growing concern for many buyers.

  • SUV: Given their larger engines and lower fuel efficiency, SUVs often have a higher carbon footprint than sedans. However, with the rise of hybrid and electric SUVs, this is changing.
  • Sedan: Sedans, particularly those with smaller engines or hybrid/electric models, tend to be more environmentally friendly due to better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

Urban vs. Rural Needs

  • City Driving: For those living in bustling urban areas, tight parking spaces and frequent stop-and-go traffic are everyday challenges. Sedans, with their compact design, can be easier to maneuver and park in cities. Their smooth driving dynamics often make them the preferred choice for city dwellers.
  • Country Driving: If you find yourself frequently driving in rural or unpaved areas, SUVs may be the more practical option. Their higher ground clearance is suited for rough terrains, and their robust build can handle the demands of country roads.

Resale Value

  • SUV: Some SUVs, particularly popular models known for their reliability and off-road capabilities, tend to retain higher resale values.SUVs tailored for specific markets or regions with a high demand for off-road or all-terrain vehicles can maintain better resale values due to their versatility.
  • Sedans: Sedans, especially well-regarded models from reputable brands, often maintain competitive resale values, particularly in urban settings with a high demand for compact, fuel-efficient vehicles. The resale value of sedans can vary significantly based on the specific model, brand reputation, and market demand.

Tech and Comfort Features

  • SUV: Many high-end SUVs offer advanced tech features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and premium infotainment systems. Some may offer specialized features uncommon in sedans, such as panoramic sunroofs, third-row entertainment systems, and off-road driving modes.
  • Sedans: Sedans have caught up in terms of tech integration, offering similar features to SUVs, including touchscreen infotainment, driver-assist technologies, and advanced safety features. Some luxury features, especially those more associated with larger vehicles like panoramic sunroofs or off-road driving modes, might be less common in sedans due to space limitations.

Long-term Reliability

  • SUV: SUVs designed for off-road capabilities often boast robust construction, but frequent exposure to challenging terrains might lead to more wear and tear, potentially impacting long-term reliability. Reliability can vary among SUV models, with some being known for their durability while others might have higher maintenance needs.
  • Sedans: Sedans, with their simpler designs and typically less complex drivetrains, have historically been perceived as more durable and potentially offering better long-term reliability. This can also vary based on the specific sedan model and brand.


The SUV vs. Sedan debate doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Your choice will depend on your priorities, be it fuel efficiency, space, driving experience, or cost implications. Evaluate your needs, consider the long-term implications, and make an informed decision. 
And when you’re ready to make that choice, don’t forget to explore the stellar options at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin. Discover the perfect vehicle with us! 

The Impact of Technology: Advanced Safety Systems in Cars

Key Takeaways

  • Car safety with technological advances began with features like brakes and airbags and evolved over time. 
  • Critical components constitute advanced safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and more. 
  • Learn about the tangible benefits of integrating these systems.
  • What are the implications for car owners and potential buyers?
  • Learn how modern dealerships, like Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin, are embracing these systems.

From the inception of automobiles to today, safety has always been a paramount concern. As technology seeps deeper into every facet of our lives, it’s no surprise that it has left an indelible mark on car safety. 

Today, we see a beautiful confluence of engineering and digital advancements, giving birth to sophisticated safety systems that ensure our journeys remain accident-free. 

If you’re looking to witness this blend of innovation and safety firsthand, make sure to stop by Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin and experience it yourself. 

Evolution of Car Safety

Car safety isn’t a novel concept. Seat belts, airbags, and anti-lock brakes were groundbreaking innovations of their times. However, as technology galloped forward, so did the sophistication and capabilities of safety mechanisms. 

The introduction of microprocessors, sensors, and connectivity has brought about a revolution in what we now call safety systems.

Components of Advanced Safety Systems

  • Adaptive Cruise Control: It’s not just about maintaining speed anymore. With sensors and radars, cars can now adjust their speed based on the traffic ahead, maintaining safe distances.
  • Lane-Keeping Assist: Cameras detect lane markings and assist drivers in staying within their lane. If the car drifts without a turn signal, subtle steering adjustments or alerts are initiated.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking: By detecting an imminent collision, this feature autonomously applies the brakes, potentially avoiding or reducing the severity of a crash.
  • Blind Spot Detection: No more craning your neck or second-guessing. Sensors provide visual and audible alerts if another vehicle is detected in the driver’s blind spot.

Benefits of Safety Systems

The integration of advanced safety systems offers numerous benefits:

  • Reduced Accident Rates: A significant decrease in road accidents has been observed with the advent of these systems.
  • Enhanced Driver Confidence: Knowing the car is equipped to handle unforeseen situations can make the driving experience more comfortable and stress-free.
  • Economic Implications: Fewer accidents mean reduced costs related to vehicle repair, medical bills, and insurance premiums.

Implications for Car Buyers

For potential car buyers, the inclusion of these systems can be a significant deciding factor. Not only do they provide peace of mind, but they can also contribute to reduced insurance premiums. 

Dealerships today, recognizing this demand, have made it a point to emphasize the inclusion of these systems in their offerings.

The Future of Safety Systems in Cars

The journey of safety systems in cars is still in its nascent stages. The horizon looks promising with advancements like:

  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication: Cars will be able to communicate with each other, sharing information about speed, direction, and location. This can significantly reduce the chances of collisions.
  • Augmented Reality Dashboards: These will project information onto the windshield, allowing drivers to get real-time data without diverting their eyes off the road.
  • Biometric Systems: Imagine a car that adjusts settings based on the driver’s mood or physical state. These systems could potentially detect if a driver is tired or under the influence and take corrective actions.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer restricted to sci-fi movies or tech giants. The automotive industry has eagerly embraced AI’s potential, especially in the realm of safety systems.

  • Smart Predictions: AI can analyze vast amounts of data in real time, allowing the car to predict potential hazards or unsafe driving conditions. For instance, by analyzing traffic patterns, weather conditions, and the vehicle’s speed, AI can anticipate and warn the driver about possible slippery roads ahead.
  • Personalized Safety Alerts: Every driver has a unique driving style. AI can adapt to the individual habits of the driver, providing tailored feedback and suggestions to improve safety. For example, if a particular driver tends to brake late consistently, the AI might give earlier and more pronounced warnings for obstacles ahead.

Integration with Smart Cities

The dream of smart cities is slowly turning into a reality, and this has significant implications for vehicular safety systems.

  • Traffic Flow Management: Advanced safety systems can communicate with traffic signals and other infrastructure components. This allows for better traffic flow management, reducing congestion and potential collision points.
  • Infrastructure Warning Systems: Imagine your car getting real-time updates about a pothole ahead or a malfunctioning traffic light. This seamless communication between the vehicle and the city’s infrastructure ensures the driver is always informed about the road’s condition.

Ethical Considerations of Advanced Safety Systems

While technological advancements in car safety are largely positive, they also bring forth certain ethical dilemmas.

  • Data Privacy Concerns: With cars collecting and transmitting large amounts of data, concerns about who has access to this data and how it’s used arise. Manufacturers need to ensure that data privacy standards are maintained and that users are aware of the data being collected.
  • Decision-Making Dilemmas: In situations where an accident seems imminent, how does a car’s system decide what action to take? For instance, in avoiding a pedestrian, should the car swerve, risking the occupants’ safety? Ethical programming becomes vital in such scenarios.


The amalgamation of technology and safety in cars paints a hopeful picture for a world with reduced road mishaps and enhanced driving experiences. Advanced safety systems have already demonstrated their potential in safeguarding lives and assets. As consumers, embracing and understanding this technology can be a game-changer for road safety. 
Interested in experiencing the pinnacle of automotive safety firsthand? Dive into the world of advanced vehicular protection with Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin. Explore our inventory today and drive into a safer tomorrow.

Top Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change Sooner Than You Think

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the early symptoms of oil degradation, such as sluggish engine performance, mileage, and more. 
  • Timely oil changes can enhance vehicle performance and lifespan.
  • Delaying can lead to expensive engine repairs.
  • Regularly check oil texture, color, and level and recognize signs of dirty oil. 
  • Listen for unusual engine noises and pay attention to smells.

In the intricate ballet of metal and machinery that is your car’s engine, one component plays a pivotal role in ensuring everything runs smoothly: the lifeblood known as engine oil. 

It’s the unsung hero, quietly lubricating, cooling, and protecting vital components from the harsh realities of friction and heat. However, it does have its limits. There comes a point when it’s stretched thin, a point when it needs to be changed long before its scheduled appointment. 

Read on to identify these signs. Looking for a trusted dealership? Consider visiting Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin to ensure top-notch service.

Dark and Dirty Oil 

Oil plays a crucial role in ensuring your engine runs smoothly. When new, it has an amber color and maintains a smooth consistency. However, with time and usage, it gets dirty and turns darker. If you pull out the dipstick and the oil looks more like tar than liquid gold, it’s a sign. Don’t wait; it’s time for an oil change. 

Dark oil can also indicate the presence of contaminants, which can lead to engine damage. In such cases, it’s crucial to schedule an oil change promptly.

Engine Noise and Knocking 

Proper lubrication reduces friction, ensuring smooth operation. If the oil degrades or decreases in level, you’ll hear increased engine noise. A knocking sound from your engine can mean serious trouble and indicates a dire need for an oil change

If you start hearing more unusual sounds like clattering or ticking, it’s often an indication that the oil is not doing its job properly. 

These noises can be alarming, as they may signify significant engine wear. Don’t wait until it’s too late; schedule an oil change and have your engine inspected.

Oil Change or Check Engine Light Illuminates 

Modern vehicles are equipped with sensors that notify you when something’s amiss. If your check engine or oil change light turns on, don’t ignore it. It’s a clear signal that your vehicle requires attention, primarily an oil change.

Oil Smell Inside the Car

If you start smelling oil inside your vehicle, consider it a red flag. This often indicates an oil leak. A burnt oil smell may also point towards potential problems with your engine overheating. Both situations highlight the urgency of an oil change.

Smoke from the Exhaust

While some vapor from the tailpipe is common, especially in cold weather, visible smoke isn’t. If you notice smoke instead of vapor, it’s an alarming sign. It can be related to an oil leak or compromised oil quality, necessitating a prompt oil change.

Excessive Mileage

If you’ve been covering many miles in a short period, your car’s oil change frequency should increase. Excessive driving demands more from your engine, which, in turn, demands fresh oil sooner.

Low Oil Level

Engines consume oil over time. Regularly checking your oil level helps ensure it’s at the optimum mark. If the level drops faster than usual, it indicates either an oil leak or the engine consuming more oil, making an oil change essential.

Oil Texture and Consistency

An essential habit for car owners is periodically checking oil texture. Rub a little between your fingers. If it feels gritty rather than smooth, it’s likely accumulating too many particles, indicating that an oil change is overdue.

Increased Fuel Consumption

One of the lesser-known signs of needing an oil change is decreased fuel efficiency. When the oil isn’t lubricating the engine components as it should, the engine has to work harder, leading to increased fuel consumption. If you start noticing you’re visiting the gas station more frequently without significant changes in your driving habits, it may be time to consider an oil change.

Age of Your Vehicle

Older vehicles, especially those that have covered over 75,000 miles, might need more frequent oil changes. This is because engines wear out with time, and components might not be as efficient as they once were. It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s recommendations but be prepared to change the oil sooner if your car falls into this category.

Oil Leaks Under Your Vehicle

If you notice oil spots on your driveway or parking space, it’s a clear indication of an oil leak. Oil leaks can occur due to worn-out seals or gaskets in your engine. Ignoring these leaks can not only lead to the need for an oil change but also result in more extensive and costly repairs if left unaddressed.

Sluggish Engine Performance

As your engine accumulates miles, the oil’s lubricating properties deteriorate. When this happens, your engine may start to feel sluggish. You might notice a delay in acceleration or a general lack of responsiveness. If your vehicle doesn’t feel as peppy as it used to, consider scheduling an oil change to rejuvenate its performance.

Engine Overheating

Proper oil circulation helps dissipate heat generated by the engine. When the oil becomes too old or insufficient, it can’t perform this crucial function effectively. Consequently, your engine may start to overheat, which can cause severe damage. If you observe your engine temperature gauge creeping into the danger zone, it’s time to act fast with an oil change.


Your car is a significant investment, and ensuring its longevity requires consistent maintenance. Recognizing these signs helps you to act promptly, maintaining your engine’s health and optimizing performance. Always prioritize timely checks and services, including regular oil changes.

For expert advice and top-tier services, visit Auffenberg Hyundai of Cape Girardeau. We’re committed to helping you keep your vehicle running at its best.
Looking for professional care for your car? Trust the experts at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin for all your maintenance needs, including a timely oil change.

The Ultimate Guide to Financing Your Next Chrysler

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding various finance options for Chrysler vehicles.
  • The significance of a good credit score, its impact, and if you may need to boost it for your desired Chrysler. 
  • How to effectively compare loan offers in terms of their offers and conditions.
  • Leverage dealership financing for potential deals.
  • Preparing the necessary documentation for a seamless transaction.

Driving away with a brand-new or pre-owned Chrysler is an exciting moment. It becomes even more pleasurable when you know you’ve secured the best financial deal for your purchase. 

This guide will lead you through each component of financing your next Chrysler to ensure a smooth transaction. Ready to get the best deal at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin? Let’s dive in.

Understanding Your Financing Options

  • Dealership Financing: Many buyers opt for dealership financing as it’s convenient. Chrysler dealerships often collaborate with financial institutions to provide loans, sometimes even offering special promotions like low APR or cash back.
  • Bank or Credit Union Financing: It’s a good practice to approach your bank or local credit union. They often provide auto loans at competitive rates, and you might get a discount if you’re a long-standing customer.
  • Online Lenders: The digital age has introduced numerous online lending platforms. They can be quick, transparent, and sometimes even provide better rates. However, always ensure you’re dealing with a reputable lender.

The Power of a Good Credit Score

Your credit score is key in determining the interest rates you’re offered. A higher score often translates to lower rates. Before shopping:

  • Check Your Credit Report: Fetch a free copy of your report and ensure there are no discrepancies or errors.
  • Boost Your Score: If your score is on the lower side, consider waiting a few months. Clear outstanding bills, reduce debts, and avoid opening new credit lines.

Effectively Comparing Loan Offers

Don’t settle for the first loan offer you receive. Shopping around helps in:

  • Identifying the Lowest Interest Rates: Even a slight difference in percentage can amount to a lot over the tenure of your loan.
  • Understanding Loan Terms: Some loans might have conditions like prepayment penalties. Be aware of such clauses.

Leveraging Dealership Financing Deals

Chrysler dealerships might offer tantalizing deals, especially during sales events. Look out for:

  • Low-Interest Promotions: They can significantly reduce your monthly payments.
  • Cash Back Offers: These provide an upfront cash discount on your vehicle purchase.

Preparing Your Documentation

To expedite the loan process, always have your documents in order. Typically, you’d need:

  • Proof of income (recent pay stubs or tax returns).
  • Proof of residence.
  • Valid driving license.
  • A list of personal references.

Understanding Down Payments

  • Why It Matters: A down payment represents your initial investment in your Chrysler. It directly impacts:
  • Monthly Payments: A higher down payment often results in lower monthly payments.
  • Interest Costs: With a significant down payment, you’d borrow less, potentially saving on interest over the life of the loan.

How Much to Put Down

While some deals offer a ‘zero down payment’ option, it’s wise to consider putting down at least 10-20% of the car’s value. This not only reduces your loan amount but also instills confidence in lenders.

Considering Loan Duration

  • Shorter vs. Longer Terms: The loan term is the duration you have to repay your loan:
  • Short-term Loans: These usually last for 12-36 months. They have higher monthly payments but often come with lower interest rates.
  • Long-term Loans: Spanning 48-72 months or even longer, these offer smaller monthly payments but can end up costing more in interest.

Choose a term based on your monthly budget and how long you intend to keep your Chrysler.

Benefits of Pre-Approval

  • Why Get Pre-approved: Obtaining a pre-approved loan means a lender has already assessed your creditworthiness and determined how much you can borrow, at what rate, and for what term.
  • Bargaining Power: Walking into a dealership with a pre-approval can give you the upper hand in negotiations.
  • Budget Setting: Knowing your loan details beforehand helps set a clear budget.

Trade-Ins and Their Impact

If you currently own a vehicle, consider trading it in:

  • Reduction in Price: The value of your current vehicle can be directly deducted from the price of the Chrysler.
  • Tax Benefits: In some states, you only pay sales tax on the difference between the new car’s price and your trade-in value.

Remember to research your car’s value beforehand to ensure you get a fair trade-in deal.

Understanding Extras and Add-ons

When financing your next Chrysler, be wary of the extras dealerships might offer:

  • Extended Warranties: They can be beneficial but ensure it’s worth the added cost.
  • GAP Insurance: It covers the ‘gap’ between the car’s depreciated value and what you owe. Consider it if you’re making a small down payment.
  • Additional Services: These can include rustproofing, fabric protection, and paint sealants. Determine if they’re truly essential for you.

The Role of Co-signers

  • The Boost from a Trusted Individual: In situations where your credit isn’t stellar, a co-signer can make all the difference. A co-signer, ideally someone with a strong credit history, vouches for your loan.
  • Higher Approval Chances: Lenders might be more willing to approve your loan with a co-signer as it reduces their risk.
  • Better Interest Rates: Leveraging a co-signer’s good credit can land you a deal with more favorable terms.

However, always ensure that both you and your co-signer understand the responsibilities. If you default, they will be liable for the debt.

Special Financing Programs

  • Benefitting from Specific Circumstances: Some Chrysler dealerships offer special financing programs for recent college graduates, military personnel, or even first-time buyers.
  • Discounts and Rebates: Eligible individuals can enjoy direct cash discounts or rebates on their purchases.
  • Relaxed Credit Requirements: Some programs might be more lenient on credit scores, ideal for those building their credit history.

Always ask your dealership about any ongoing or upcoming special programs.

Refinancing Opportunities

  • Revisiting Your Loan: Refinancing involves replacing your current loan with a new one, ideally with better terms.
  • Lower Interest Rates: Over time, if your credit score improves or market rates drop, you might qualify for a lower rate.
  • Changing Loan Duration: If your financial situation changes, you can either shorten your loan term to clear the debt faster or extend it to reduce monthly payments.

Refinancing isn’t always the best option, especially if your current loan has prepayment penalties. Evaluate the costs and benefits before proceeding.


Financing your next Chrysler needn’t be a daunting task. By understanding your options, preparing in advance, and leveraging dealership deals, you can navigate the financing journey with ease and confidence. 

Ready to explore more? Check out Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin to find the best Chrysler deals tailored for you. 

How To Improve Your Car’s Resale Value

Key Takeaways

  • Regular maintenance and timely servicing can elevate your car’s resale value.
  • Protecting the car’s exterior and interior ensures it looks newer for longer.
  • Proper documentation can back up your claims about the car’s condition.
  • Small upgrades can make a substantial difference.
  • Research and timing can maximize the return on your sale.

Every car owner faces the eventual truth: At some point, you’ll want or need to sell your car. Regardless of the reason, the objective remains the same: get the best possible price. 

An integral factor in achieving this is understanding and enhancing your car’s resale value. Whether you’ve just bought a new vehicle or have had one for years, these tips will guide you in ensuring you get the most out of your investment. 

Thinking about a new purchase? Check out our range at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin for the latest offers.

Regular Maintenance

  • Stay on Top of Servicing: Ensuring that your car undergoes regular servicing not only keeps it in peak condition but also improves its resale value. A well-maintained vehicle indicates to potential buyers that you’ve been a responsible owner.
  • Address Minor Issues Promptly: Little problems can escalate if left unchecked. A squeaky brake or a minor oil leak might seem trivial but can lead to more significant issues if ignored. Attending to these quickly shows that the car has been cared for diligently.

Protect the Car’s Aesthetics

  • Exterior Care: Regular washing and waxing protect the paint from contaminants and UV rays. Additionally, addressing any dings, scratches, or dents ensures the vehicle looks well-maintained.
  • Interior Maintenance: Vacuum the inside regularly, avoid eating in the car, and consider investing in high-quality seat covers. Keeping the dashboard and other surfaces clean prevents premature wear and fading.

Maintain Proper Documentation

A comprehensive record of all services, repairs, and accidents can substantiate your claims about the vehicle’s condition. A well-documented service history can significantly enhance the trust factor for potential buyers and, in turn, the car’s resale value.

Consider Value-adding Upgrades

While it’s not necessary to invest heavily in modifications, some minor, cost-effective upgrades can boost your car’s appeal. Think alloy wheels, high-quality audio systems, or advanced security systems. Remember, any addition should appeal to a broad audience, so avoid overly personalized modifications.

Research and Timing

  • Know the Market: Familiarize yourself with the current market value of your car’s make and model. Online platforms, dealerships, and classifieds can provide a good gauge.
  • Time Your Sale: Sometimes, the time of year can influence your car’s resale value. For instance, convertibles might be more in demand during the warmer months, while SUVs might see a surge in winter.

Limit Mileage and Drive Carefully

  • Drive Sensibly: Avoid harsh driving habits such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, or aggressive turns. Not only does this reduce wear and tear, but it also ensures longevity.
  • Limit Long Drives: While it’s inevitable that a car will accumulate miles over time, excessive mileage can reduce a car’s resale value. Consider alternate transportation methods for extremely long commutes or trips.

Opt for Neutral Colors

While a bright or unconventional car color might suit your taste, neutral colors like white, silver, and black tend to have broader appeal in the resale market. Cars in these colors are often easier to sell and may fetch slightly higher prices.

Quit Smoking Inside the Car

If you’re a smoker, avoid smoking inside your vehicle. The odor from cigarette smoke can deeply embed in the car’s upholstery and be challenging to remove, reducing its appeal to non-smoking potential buyers.

Use Quality Replacement Parts

Whenever parts need replacing, opt for high-quality, preferably original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. These maintain the vehicle’s integrity and assure potential buyers of its reliability and performance.

Effective Marketing

When it’s time to sell, how you present your car can make a significant difference.

  • Good Photos: Take clear, high-resolution photos from various angles, highlighting the car’s best features.
  • Honest Description: In your listing, be transparent about the car’s history, features, and any defects. An honest approach builds trust.
  • Competitive Pricing: Price your car reasonably based on its condition and market research. This ensures you strike the right balance between getting a fair price and attracting potential buyers.

Proper Storage

When you’re not using your car, storing it in a garage or under a carport can protect it from harmful elements such as extreme weather, UV rays, or falling debris. This not only preserves the paint but also the overall condition of the car.

Tech Upgrades

As cars evolve, so do the expectations of potential buyers. Adding or updating tech features like a backup camera, navigation system, or Bluetooth connectivity can enhance the appeal of your vehicle. These features not only improve the driving experience but also can offer safety benefits.

Tire Maintenance

Tires play a crucial role in the performance and safety of a car. Ensure they are always inflated to the recommended pressure, free from punctures, and have a good tread depth. Rotating them regularly and aligning the wheels can prevent uneven wear. New or well-maintained tires can be a selling point, showcasing that the car doesn’t need immediate additional investment.

Smell Matters

Beyond the visual appeal, the smell of a car’s interior can leave a lasting impression on a potential buyer. Regularly clean the interiors, use mild air fresheners, and consider a professional detailing service if there’s a persistent odor. A fresh-smelling car gives the impression of a well-cared-for vehicle.


Increasing your car’s resale value doesn’t require an overwhelming effort. By following the above steps, you can ensure your vehicle remains appealing and fetches the best possible price when you decide to sell. 
Considering a new purchase after your sale? Dive into the impressive lineup at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin to discover the latest in automobile innovation.

The Complete Checklist for Buying a Used Car

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluating the car’s exterior and interior condition is important, including the paintwork, the controls and the general condition. 
  • Importance of researching the car’s history and documentation.
  • Test driving to assess performance and peace of mind.
  • Inquiring about the warranty or after-sales services.
  • Knowing when and how to negotiate the price.

Purchasing a used car can be a wise financial decision, but it can also be a minefield if not approached correctly. Equipped with the proper knowledge, you can avoid common pitfalls and secure a deal that offers value for money. So, if you’re looking to invest in a “new-to-you” vehicle, follow our complete checklist for buying a used car. 

And remember, if you’re searching for trusted dealerships, why not start with us? Experience top-quality selections at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin today.

Exterior Inspection

  • Paint & Bodywork: The vehicle’s color should be consistent throughout. Check for any signs of repainting, which could suggest prior accidents.
  • Tires & Wheels: All tires should show even wear. Uneven wear might indicate issues with alignment or suspension.
  • Lights & Indicators: Ensure all lights (headlights, brake lights, indicators) function properly.

Interior Check

  • Upholstery & Controls: Look for excessive wear and tear on the seats and ensure all controls and instruments are operational.
  • Odor: A musty smell might indicate water leaks, while a burnt odor could point to mechanical issues.
  • Electronic Systems: Test the air conditioning, audio system, and any onboard navigation or tech features.

Documentation & History

  • Service Records: A well-maintained car will have its service records up-to-date. This provides insights into how well the vehicle has been looked after.
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Check: Use the VIN for a detailed car history report. This can reveal past accidents, ownership history, and any potential liens.
  • Mileage: Ensure the mileage on the odometer matches what’s listed in the service records and history report.

Test Drive

  • Engine: Listen for any unusual sounds. The machine should run smoothly without hiccups.
  • Transmission & Brakes: The gear shifts (in both manual and automatic transmissions) should be seamless. Brakes should feel firm and responsive.
  • Handling & Suspension: The car should handle well around curves and bumps without any odd noises.

Warranty and After-Sales Service

  • Warranty Coverage: If the car is not too old, it might still be under the manufacturer’s warranty. Check the specifics of the warranty and its validity period.
  • Dealership Guarantees: Some dealerships offer their warranties on used cars. This can be an added advantage, providing peace of mind to the buyer.
  • Maintenance Offers: Inquire if the dealership offers complimentary maintenance services or discounts on future services.

Negotiating the Price

  • Research: Before discussing the price, research the average market value of the model you’re interested in. Websites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can provide a ballpark figure.
  • Hidden Costs: Consider additional costs like dealership fees, taxes, and licensing. These can add up and affect the final price.
  • Trade-In Value: If you’re trading in your old car, know its value. This can be a significant factor in negotiating the used car’s final price.

Finalizing the Deal

  • Paperwork: Make sure all the required documents, such as the title, bill of sale, and release of liability, are in place.
  • Payment Method: Discuss the preferred payment method. Many dealerships offer financing options, but sometimes, securing your financing can give you an upper hand in negotiations.
  • Inspection Certificate: If your state requires it, ensure the car has a valid inspection certificate.

Mechanic’s Inspection

  • Professional Expertise: While personal evaluations and test drives are crucial, nothing beats the expertise of a professional mechanic. They can spot potential problems or signs of wear and tear that an average buyer might overlook.
  • Peace of Mind: Investing in a mechanic’s inspection, although an additional cost, can save you from unexpected expenses in the future and provide peace of mind.
  • Bargaining Power: Any issues spotted during the inspection can also be used as a negotiation point when discussing the price.

Vehicle’s Age vs. Mileage

  • Age Matters: A newer car might sound appealing, but if it has excessively high mileage for its age, it could indicate hard usage.
  • Mileage Concerns: On the flip side, an older car with surprisingly low mileage might have been sitting unused for extended periods, potentially leading to other issues like rubber component deterioration or battery problems.
  • Balanced View: Consider both factors instead of focusing solely on age or mileage. A well-maintained older car with reasonable mileage can sometimes be better than a newer, heavily-used vehicle.

Safety Features

  • Updated Safety: Older models might lack modern safety features in recent cars. Ensure the used car has essential safety elements like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and traction control.
  • Advanced Technology: While not always essential, features like rearview cameras, lane departure warnings, and blind-spot monitoring can enhance your safety on the road.
  • Recall Information: Ensure that the vehicle has no pending recalls or, if it had any, they were addressed promptly.

Fuel Efficiency & Environmental Impact

  • Mileage Check: Older cars might not be as fuel-efficient as newer models. Research the car’s miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings to ensure you get a good deal for your wallet and the environment.
  • Emission Tests: Depending on where you live, the used car might need to pass emission tests. Ensure it meets the necessary standards.
  • Hybrid and Electric Options: If you’re environment-conscious, consider looking into used hybrids or electric vehicles. They can be more expensive upfront but can save money in the long run.

Resale Value

  • Future-Proofing: Even if you plan to keep the car long, it’s wise to consider its potential resale value.
  • Popular Models: Cars from reputable brands or popular models tend to have a better resale value. Research the model’s history in the market to get an idea.
  • Depreciation Rate: All cars depreciate, but the rate can vary. Opt for vehicles known to hold their value longer.

Hidden Fees & Costs

  • Insurance Rates: Before finalizing the purchase, get an insurance quote. Some models might have higher insurance premiums based on their history or type.
  • Registration Fees: Check the costs of registering the used car in your name, as these can differ based on the vehicle’s age, type, or location.
  • Warranty Transfer Fees: If the car is still under warranty, there might be fees for transferring it to your name. Make sure to factor in these costs when budgeting.


Investing in a used car doesn’t mean compromising on quality. With the right approach and a comprehensive checklist, you can ensure a wise purchase, eliminating surprises. 

As you venture into this process, trust established dealerships that uphold transparency and integrity in their dealings. 

Explore Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin‘s offerings today for stellar deals and top-notch vehicles.

Why Buying a Used Car Could Be Your Best Decision Yet

Key Takeaways

  • Buying a used car is more affordable than a new one.
  • Used cars depreciate at a slower rate compared to new vehicles.
  • Insurance rates for used vehicles are typically lower than for new ones.
  • A broader range of options is available when buying a used car.
  • Buying a used vehicle contributes to reducing the environmental footprint.

Are you contemplating buying a car but feel overwhelmed by the prices of brand-new models? Purchasing a used car is an option worth exploring in this case! 

Buying a used car can be one of the best financial decisions, offering numerous advantages, from cost savings to a broader selection of models. 

This article will explore why buying a used car could be your best decision yet. Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin provides a wide selection of high-quality used cars to suit your needs and budget. Explore our range of used vehicles today!


Cost savings are among the most compelling reasons to buy a used car. A brand-new car can be expensive, and its value depreciates significantly as soon as you drive it off the dealership. 

Depreciation is the loss of value that a car experiences over time. New cars tend to depreciate much faster during the first few years of ownership. Some new cars can lose about 20-30% of their value within the first year and about 50% or more over three years.

However, the depreciation rate slows down significantly after the first few years. Buying a used car can be a wise investment as you let someone else take the initial depreciation hit. You can then resell the used car a few years later with minimal loss in value.

Insurance Savings

Insurance rates are typically based on the value of the car. Since a used car has a lower value than a new one, the cost of insuring it is usually lower as well. 

Additionally, some elements of car insurance, like collision and comprehensive coverage, may also be less expensive for a used car. Therefore, buying a used car can significantly save insurance costs.

Wider Selection

When you opt to buy a used car, you have a more comprehensive selection of makes and models to choose from. 

This is because you are not limited to the current year’s models but can also choose from cars manufactured in previous years. This broader range of options makes finding a vehicle that fits your needs and preferences easier. 

You may also find used cars with features or options that are no longer available in newer models.

Environmental Benefits

Buying a used car is also a more environmentally friendly option. Manufacturing new cars requires significant energy and resources and contributes to pollution. 

Additionally, the disposal of old cars also has an environmental impact. By purchasing a used car, you are helping to reduce the demand for new vehicles and, therefore, contributing to a reduction in the ecological footprint.

Maintenance Records

One common concern about buying a used car is the uncertainty about its maintenance history. However, nowadays, many used cars come with detailed maintenance records that can provide insight into the car’s history and how well it has been taken care of. 

Some used car sellers even offer certified pre-owned vehicles that have been thoroughly inspected and refurbished to ensure they are in good condition.

Technology and Features

Another misconception is that used cars are outdated and lack modern technology and features. 

However, many used cars, especially those only a few years old, come equipped with the latest technology and features, such as navigation systems, advanced safety features, and smartphone integration.

Room for Negotiation

There is often more room for negotiation when buying a used car than a new one. Dealerships and private sellers may be more willing to negotiate the price of a used car, allowing you to get a better deal. 

You may also have the option to negotiate other terms such as warranty and financing.

Financing Options

Many dealerships offer financing options for used cars, making it easier to afford the vehicle you want. Interest rates for used car loans may be higher than for new vehicles, but the overall cost is still likely to be lower due to the lower purchase price of the used car.

Certified Pre-Owned Options

Many manufacturers offer certified pre-owned (CPO) programs, where used cars are thoroughly inspected, refurbished, and approved by the manufacturer or dealer. 

These cars often come with extended warranties and may include additional benefits such as roadside assistance. 

Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle can give you added peace of mind as it ensures that the car is in good condition and has been well-maintained.

Additional Benefits

Owning a car comes with additional costs, including maintenance, repairs, and fuel. When you buy a new car, you may need to spend more on these extra costs as new vehicles often require more expensive parts and services. 

Additionally, new cars usually have higher fuel consumption rates than older models. On the other hand, used cars often have lower maintenance and repair costs as they have already undergone initial repairs and services. 

Furthermore, many used cars are more fuel-efficient, which can lead to significant savings in the long run. Overall, buying a used car can help you save on additional costs associated with car ownership.


Buying a used car can be an intelligent financial decision with numerous benefits. From cost savings to reduced depreciation, lower insurance rates, a more comprehensive selection of models, and contributing to environmental sustainability, there are several reasons why buying a used car could be your best decision yet. 

Additionally, with options such as certified pre-owned vehicles, detailed maintenance records, and room for negotiation, buying a used car has become more reliable and convenient. 

Explore the range of used cars available at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin and make a wise financial decision today!

Car Shopping 101: What to Look for in Your Next Vehicle

Key Takeaways

  • Determine your budget and stick to it to avoid making a decision you might regret later on.
  • Decide if a used car or a new one would suit your needs and budget better.
  • Prioritize your needs and wants based on your lifestyle, commute and driving style. 
  • Consider the total cost of ownership, which include maintenance and fuel costs. 
  • Test drive multiple options to get hands-on experience with your options. 

Embarking on the journey of car shopping can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. With many options available, having a roadmap to navigate the process helps more than one would realize.  

This guide provides comprehensive insights and tips on what to look for in your next vehicle. We’ll cover everything from determining your budget to test-driving multiple options. 

So, let’s get started on your car-shopping adventure! Visit Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin to explore various options tailored to your needs.

Determine Your Budget

The first step in car shopping is to determine your budget. This includes not only the price of the vehicle but also additional costs such as insurance, maintenance, and fuel. 

Consider your current financial situation and how much you can afford to spend without straining your finances. Remember, it’s always better to have a budget and stick to it rather than impulsively buying a car, which may lead to financial stress later on.

New or Used?

Buying a new or used vehicle is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make during your car shopping journey. Both options have their pros and cons. A new car typically comes with the latest features, a full warranty, and, often, better financing rates. 

However, it also depreciates quickly. On the other hand, a used car usually costs less upfront, and its value depreciates at a slower rate. 

However, it may have hidden maintenance issues or a limited warranty. It’s essential to consider these factors carefully and see which option fits your needs and budget.

Prioritize Your Needs and Wants

Make a list of features essential for your daily routine and another list that would be nice but unnecessary. For example, fuel efficiency may be a top priority if you commute long. 

On the other hand, if you frequently drive in snowy or icy conditions, an all-wheel-drive vehicle may be necessary. Other features to consider include safety features, technology, and comfort. 

A clear list of priorities will help you stay focused during your car shopping journey and ensure you choose a vehicle that meets your needs.

Consider Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of ownership includes the vehicle’s purchase price and additional expenses such as insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Considering these costs when determining your budget and deciding on a car is essential. 

For example, a vehicle with a lower purchase price may cost more in the long run due to high maintenance or fuel costs.

Additionally, some vehicles may have higher insurance premiums due to their make or model. It’s essential to thoroughly research and consider all these factors before deciding.

Test Drive Multiple Options

Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to hit the road and test-drive your top choices. Test-driving multiple vehicles will give you a better sense of how they are handled on the street, how comfortable they are, and whether they meet your needs and expectations. 

Pay attention to details such as visibility, ease of use of the controls, and overall comfort. It’s also a good idea to test drive the vehicles in different road conditions and at other times of the day to get a comprehensive understanding of their performance. 

Remember, this is a significant investment, and making an informed decision is essential.

Consider Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Impact

In today’s world, being environmentally conscious is more important than ever. During your car shopping journey, consider the fuel efficiency of the vehicles you are considering and their environmental impact. 

Not only will a fuel-efficient vehicle save you money on gas, but it will also have a smaller carbon footprint. Additionally, some countries offer incentives for buying environmentally friendly vehicles, such as tax credits or rebates. Keep this in mind, as it could significantly affect your budget and overall cost of ownership.

Evaluate Safety Features

Safety should always be a priority when car shopping. Make sure to thoroughly research the safety features of the vehicles you are considering. 

Look for features such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags, and a rearview camera. Additionally, consider advanced safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. 

Remember, your own safety and passenger safety should never be compromised.

Research and Compare Insurance Costs

Insurance is a significant part of the total cost of vehicle ownership. Researching and comparing insurance costs for the vehicles you are considering during your car shopping journey is essential. 

Insurance premiums vary significantly based on the vehicle’s make, model, and year. Your driving history, location, and other factors can also affect your insurance premiums. 

Getting quotes from multiple insurance providers is advisable to ensure you get the best deal.

Consider Resale Value

A vehicle’s resale value is another crucial factor to consider during your car shopping journey. Some vehicles depreciate much faster than others. Choosing a vehicle with a substantial resale value is essential, as it will affect your finances in the long run should you decide to sell your vehicle later on. 

Research the resale values of the vehicles you are considering and choose one likely to hold its value well over time.

Check Reviews and Ratings

Before finalizing your decision, you must check the reviews and ratings of the vehicles you are considering. Look for reviews from both experts and other car owners. This will give you a well-rounded perspective on the vehicle’s performance, reliability, and overall satisfaction. 

Additionally, consider the vehicle’s ratings from reputable organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Car shopping can be daunting, but with thorough research and careful consideration of your needs, wants, and budget, you can make the right choice. 

Remember to determine your budget, decide between new or used, prioritize your needs and wants, consider the total cost of ownership, test drive multiple options, consider fuel efficiency and environmental impact, evaluate safety features, research and compare insurance costs, consider resale value, and check reviews and ratings. 

Ready to take the next step in your car shopping journey? Visit Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin  today to explore our range of vehicles and schedule a test drive.

What to Do When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding why the check engine light comes on and its implications.
  • Immediate steps to take when your check engine light flashes.
  • Importance of professional diagnostics to uncover the root issue.
  • How to prevent future occurrences of the check engine light turning on.
  • The role of regular maintenance in keeping your vehicle in optimal condition.

When you’re behind the wheel, your car’s dashboard is the primary point of communication between you and your vehicle. All the more reason to pay attention to it at all times, especially if the check engine light comes on. 

The check engine light (CEL) is one you can’t ignore among the various signals and icons. It’s not just a trivial indicator; it’s your car’s cry for help that something is wrong. In this guide, we’ll be walking you through the possible problems your CEL may be telling you. 

For any car maintenance-related queries, feel free to contact our experts at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin. Come in today, and let’s take care of your vehicle.

Why Does the Check Engine Light Come On?

The Check Engine Light can illuminate for various reasons ranging from trivial issues to severe problems that require immediate attention. This light is connected to your car’s onboard diagnostic system, which monitors the engine’s operation. 

Any irregularity this system detects results in the check engine light turning on. Common reasons for the check engine light include:

  • Faulty oxygen sensors.
  • Loose gas caps.
  • A failing catalytic converter.
  • Bad spark plugs.
  • A malfunctioning mass airflow sensor. 

Remember, some of these issues can lead to significant damage if not addressed promptly.

Immediate Steps to Take

Don’t panic when you see the check engine light come on. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Check for Serious Issues: Inspect for signs of serious issues, such as steam from the hood, irregular engine noises, or a noticeable reduction in performance. If you notice these signs, safely pull over and call for roadside assistance.
  • Tighten Your Gas Cap: An improperly secured gas cap can cause the CEL to light up. If your gas cap is loose, tightening it may solve the problem. After a few drives, if the light remains on, the issue could be something else.
  • Reduce Your Speed and Load: If there are no visible signs of a severe issue, reduce your speed and avoid heavy acceleration to decrease the strain on the engine until you can have the vehicle inspected.

Importance of Professional Diagnostics

While these steps can help you navigate the initial phase of a check engine light situation, getting professional diagnostics is crucial. Only a trained mechanic with the right tools can accurately diagnose the underlying issue causing the light to come on. 

Professional diagnostics ensure the root cause is addressed, preventing future occurrences and engine damage.

Remember that ignoring a flashing check engine light can result in significant repair costs. Hence, a timely visit to the mechanic can save you from potential headaches and expenses.

Preventing Future Occurrences of the Check Engine Light

Prevention is often the best cure. Regular maintenance prevents your check engine light from turning on unexpectedly. 

Here are some proactive measures you can take:

  • Regular Servicing: Ensure your vehicle is serviced according to the manufacturer’s schedule. Standard service includes checks and replacements of components that, if faulty, can trigger the CEL.
  • Prompt Repairs: Never postpone minor repairs, as they could lead to significant problems, causing the Check Engine Light to illuminate.
  • Fuel Quality: Always use high-quality fuel and the type recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Poor-quality fuel can lead to engine problems, often indicated by a flashing CEL.
  • Professional Inspection: Have your car inspected by professionals regularly. They can detect and resolve issues before they become serious.

Understanding the Role of Maintenance

Maintenance goes beyond ensuring the smooth running of your vehicle. It also extends the life of your car and saves you from costly repairs. 

Keep your vehicle’s maintenance schedule on track by paying attention to your car’s needs and addressing issues as soon as they surface. This attention to detail will ensure your check engine light stays off and your vehicle stays on the road longer.

The Impact of Ignoring Your Check Engine Light

Often, drivers are tempted to ignore the check engine light, especially when the car seems to be running just fine. But doing so can have far-reaching consequences. Ignoring the CEL could mean exacerbating a minor issue that could have been resolved quickly, ultimately resulting in costly and extensive repairs.

Also, unaddressed engine issues can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, increased emissions, and even a potential breakdown. Your vehicle might also fail an emissions test if the problem causing the check engine light is not resolved. 

In some cases, it could also lead to irreversible engine damage. That’s why you should always pay attention to a lit check engine light, no matter how well the car operates.

The Power of Advanced Diagnostics

With the advancement of automotive technology, car diagnostics have become more sophisticated. Modern diagnostic tools can precisely identify the issue triggering the check engine light, saving you time and money on unnecessary repairs. 

These tools connect to the vehicle’s onboard computer system to read and interpret the error codes, providing the technician with valuable data about the car’s condition.

Apart from the initial diagnostic process, these tools can also monitor real-time data to assess other potential issues that might not be immediately apparent. 

By leveraging these advanced diagnostic tools, professional technicians can accurately and promptly resolve the problems, ensuring your check engine light turns off and stays off.


Now that you understand the importance of the check engine light and the steps to take when it comes on, it’s time to act. If your check engine light has been flashing, don’t ignore it. Ensure your vehicle gets the attention it deserves by seeking professional help.

Remember, when the check engine light comes on, it’s not just about addressing the immediate issue but also about taking preventative steps to avoid future problems. Regular maintenance is necessary, not an option, to keep your vehicle in optimal condition.
Your vehicle’s health is our top priority at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin. Visit us today and let us handle your check engine light concerns.