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Is It Safe To Drive With The EPC Light On? [Here’s What You Need To Know!]

Have you ever experienced driving with your EPC (electronic power control) lights on and wondered if it is safe to continue with the lights on? We researched if it's alright and what to do when this happens, and here is what we found. 

It is possible to use your vehicle when the EPC light is on. However, doing so is not advisable. The engine could sustain serious harm if you keep driving while these warning lights are on.

Continue reading to know what causes the EPC warning lights to come on. We'll also discuss the repercussions if you continue driving when these lights are on. Additionally, we'll cover the function of the EPC and what parts of your vehicle it controls. Moreover, we'll tell you how much it costs to repair an EPC light and if you should fix it yourself.

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Speedometer and on board computer of a moder car, Is It Safe To Drive With The EPC Light On? [Here's What You Need To Know!]

What Causes The EPC Warning Lights To Come On?

The electronic power control (EPC) controls most electronic systems in your car. That's why it's pretty hard to point out the cause of why it turns on. 

Here are the possible reasons why your EPC is turning on: 

  • An EPC light could appear on your dashboard if one of the several engine sensors that the EPC system depends on for optimal operation is having a problem. This includes the IAT, MAF, Oxygen, and ECT sensors. 
  • Vehicles nowadays have extensive electrical wiring, so there is a significant chance that a wiring issue causes the EPC light. This can mean that the electrical contacts of your wiring are rusty or burnt. It can also indicate that the wiring in your vehicle is damaged. 
  • A faulty clock spring on the steering angle can cause the EPC light to power on. 
  • Because the EPC system relies on the throttle body to regulate engine power, it cannot operate as intended if the throttle body has a problem. Additionally, throttle body issues can also light your check engine light.
  • The ABS sensors are susceptible to malfunction because they are located on the exposed wheel hubs, easily coated with dirt and moisture, resulting in sensor corrosion or misreads.
  • The EPC system will display the EPC light and save a fault code if there is an issue with the brake pedal switch because it will be unable to determine whether you are pressing the brake pedal or not.
  • When the battery charge is low, your vehicle's systems and sensors can't operate properly, thus, making your EPC light come on.

What Happens When You Continue Driving With Your EPC Lights On?

When your EPC light comes on, your car's functionality may be hampered in a few ways. Due to the EPC system's integration with the steering, engine, and braking systems may result in engine damage or a major accident due to a lack of functionality of these systems.

If you drive defensively, the EPC system problem usually won't damage your car, but since the problem could occasionally be more serious, it's important to have it looked at right away.

How Does An EPC Function And What Are The Systems It Controls?

Speedometer and on board computer of a moder car

The EPC's main function is tracking the operations that your car's ECU (electronic control unit) controls. You can see EPC systems in vehicles from the Volkswagen automotive group, for instance.

The ECU, together with the EPC, serves as the "brain" of your car. It controls the drivetrain, engine, and other components.

So, when there is something wrong with the systems that the ECU controls, it sends a warning by turning the EPC light on.

Can A Reset Fix Your EPC Light Turning On?

No. In this case, a reset is not one of the solutions to your EPC light problem. The problem that caused your light to turn on can't be solved by just resetting it. Choosing to do so without having your car serviced could result in serious injury or dangerous driving conditions.

Additionally, the problem will be indicated by codes that are thrown by the EPC light and sometimes the check engine light. So, when you reset it, certain codes could not be available.

What Should You Do When Your EPC Light Is On?

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The first thing to do is to use an OBD2 scanner to read the trouble error codes from the engine and ABS control modules. These modules store a few error codes in their control units. 

Aside from the engine and ABS control modules, you should also scan the steering and transmission control units for error codes.  

But if you're unable to locate any useful error codes to base your further troubleshooting, check it through your sensor data. Verify the brake pressure sensor values to make sure they seem reasonable.

Finally, if you tried the above-mentioned solutions but are still unable to identify the issue, it may be time to call a qualified mechanic who has experience resolving this problem.

How Do You Set Up An OBD2 Scanner To Read Your Car's Error Codes?

Diagnostics of car failures

If you want to diagnose the problem of your vehicle that's causing the EPC light to come on, here is a simple guide on how to connect this diagnostic tool and read the codes: 

  1. Locate the OBD2 port. You can usually find it under the dashboard of your car. 
  2. Connect the end port of the tool to the car. To enable communication between the tool and the car's internal computer, make sure you have a solid, secure fit.
  3. Power up your car. However, this step is optional since some models save the codes in their memory. But if your car doesn't have this feature, then you need to do this step.
  4. Press the diagnostic tool's power button. For Bluetooth-powered devices that don't turn on automatically, you must switch it on from the port where it is plugged in.
  5. Start scanning your car. You'll need to use a Bluetooth-enabled scanner-compatible app. Additionally, if you're using the tool on your car for the first time, it may require you to register the VIN of your car. 
  6. A few seconds after the scan, the device reveals any error codes. If the scanner doesn't provide you with a full explanation of what the code represents, make a note of these codes to later interpret them.

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How Do You Interpret The Error Codes Your Diagnostic Tool Show?

There are three ways you can interpret the data obtained by your diagnostic device, you can: 

  • Search the manufacturer's website for the meaning of the error code. 
  • Use third-party party software where you can download the codes and the information about the scanned error codes. 
  • Some more advanced diagnostic tools will provide a code description for you to read directly on the display screen. 

What Are Some Factors You Need To Consider Before Buying An OBD2 Scanner?

OBDII Fault Scanner on a white background

Here are a few things to think about before making a purchase.

  • It is preferable to buy from reputable manufacturers, generally at a higher cost, rather than going with a less expensive, no-name, or unknown brand that might end up having more issues down the road.
  • Some makers of devices update their products regularly. For newer vehicles, in particular, software upgrades are essential for keeping the device updated.
  • OBD2 is a global standard; sometimes, a scanner won't operate properly or isn't compatible with your car. Therefore, it is highly advisable to confirm that the OBD scanner you have selected is compatible with your car.
  • Data privacy and protection are two crucial things to take into account. The best software is clear about how they acquire data and if they adhere to any General Data Protection Regulation requirements.
  • Additionally, be sure that the scanner you use can generate a thorough error diagnosis in addition to scanning all generic error codes.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair EPC Light Problems?

The cost of repair mainly depends on what issue your car is experiencing. Here is a simple guide on how much it costs to repair specific problems that might cause your car's EPC light to turn on: 

Vehicle Components

Repair/Replacement Cost

ABS

$750 - $1,500 

Air Mass Meter

$350 - $500

Engine Oil Level Sensor

 $80 - $200

Cruise Control System

$225 - $230

Throttle Body 

$450 - $600 (Replacement)

Power Steering Pump

$450 - $1,450 (Replacement)

Traction Control Components

up to $6500

Alternator

$450 - $1,000

Battery

$45 - $250

Steering Wheel Sensor

$100 - $500

Brake Pressure Sensor

$270 - $300

To have accurate diagnostics and repair cost estimates, it is always recommended to let an experienced mechanic check it.

Why Should You Let Professionals Handle Your EPC Light Problems?

Having your vehicle serviced by professionals is important to ensure that the repair and troubleshooting steps are correct and safe

These experts will identify the exact root of the issue. Additionally, you can also make sure that the parts replaced are of high quality and that the quality of work is impressive. 

Final Thoughts

You won't be unable to drive your vehicle entirely if the EPC light is on. However, even though the engine will still run, the vehicle's performance will noticeably decline, requiring you to head to the closest repair facility right away.

As there are several reasons why the EPC light turns on, it is best to let a professional accurately diagnose the problem with your car. 

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