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TBBT Fans Agree The Check Engine Light Running Gag Is One Of The Series' Best

"The Big Bang Theory" had a plethora of long-running gags over the course of its 12-season run. From the building's broken elevator to Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) never-ending supply of roommate agreements, the series consistently injected familiar jokes for the enjoyment of fans. However, one stands above the rest — it involved Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and her car that's in desperate need of mechanical care.

While series creator Chuck Lorre has a special place in his heart for Sheldon's spot on the couch, fans have another repeating exchange they can't get enough of. On a compilation of Penny's check-engine-light scenes on Warner Bros. TV's YouTube channel, several viewers noted that it's their favorite running gag. In Season 2, Episode 5 "The Euclid Alternative," Penny gives Sheldon a ride to work instead of his usual driving partner, Leonard (Johnny Galecki). Sheldon notices her service light and constantly nags her about it.

Fans celebrated the joke in the comments section. YouTube user JoemanMr wrote, "My favorite ongoing gag in the earlier episodes before Amy and Bernadette." This is echoed by fellow audience members who left their favorite moments below the hilarious compilation video.

The long-running gag has an even funnier payoff

Penny's recurring check engine light highlights her sometimes lackadaisical attitude which harshly contrasts Sheldon's uptight nature. This leads to them frequently clashing over the blinking light which fans absolutely love. In Season 7, Episode 17 "The Friendship Turbulence," Penny's car finally bites the big one when it stalls out and dies due to the neglected notification. Of course, she's with Sheldon when this happens, which leads to a fitting "told you so" moment. (Thankfully, it isn't as mean as the worst thing he ever did to Penny.)

YouTube user Matthew Tompkins praised this gag and said, "This is one of the greatest running jokes lol." Fellow user ashterisk singled out one of their favorite exchanges from the joke's legacy and wrote, "[Penny:] 'Don't be silly' [Sheldon:] 'I'm never silly' had me rolling," accompanied by the face with tears of joy emoji 😂. This exchange occurs after Penny tells Sheldon her car broke down (for the first time) in Season 2, Episode 14 "The Financial Permeability," and he offers to loan her some money. It shows the longevity of the joke and its ability to exist outside scenes involving Penny's car.

Another YouTube user, Saurabh, applauded these moments and said, "These random clips of Penny and Sheldon just talking are just the best and probably the highlights of this show. Rare few places where it surpasses even 'Seinfeld.'" That's high praise indeed which shows just how much fans enjoyed this long-running gag.