What exactly does the Check Engine light mean? It usually means something in the emissions system of your Volvo has broken or reached the end of its life.
Most often, this is failed oxygen sensor or air is getting into the system due to a broken vacuum line or other air intake leak. Less often, it’s failed spark plug or spark plug wire.
Why Does it Say “Check Engine”?
Yes, it’s a rather alarming message for something that generally is not an immediate problem requiring a tow, and may not be a part even in or on the engine itself. The first time it happened to me, 1998, was stressful because I was up near Dillon, Colorado, which is up in the Rocky Mountains. I didn’t know what the light meant, and for a half hour I was afraid to drive the car.
It should say “Check Emissions System” instead.