First things first: regardless of the reason, don’t ever ignore the check engine light because it’s there as an early warning system. If it comes on, there is something with your car that needs attention and the sooner you get it checked out, the more likely you are to avoid costly repairs. Typically, the check engine light sometimes comes on due to something small like a faulty sensor or loose hose, but letting those small things go unchecked can often lead to bigger and more expensive problems.
Here are some of the top reasons your check engine light may be on:
The O2 sensor monitors the unburned fuel in the exhaust system, which is a way of managing the fuel mixture. If it starts to fail, the engine may idle at a higher RPM or start running rough. And because the fuel mixture will no longer be regulated, your emissions will increase.
Spark plugs are what ignite the gasoline and basically make your engine run. If they are starting to wear out, this can cause your engine to misfire, wear down, lose power, and it can lower your overall gas mileage. If you don’t repair them right away, they can cause additional damage to the ignition coils and plug wires. But spark plugs are usually pretty easy to change and not a costly repair, so jump on that one quick.
The catalytic converter is a very expensive part on your car and it has an important job: it converts hazardous exhaust fumes into less harmful emissions. Over the years, they have become integrated with the engine’s management system and typically smaller problems like the O2 sensor or a bad spark plug can affect your catalytic converter. It’s definitely something you don’t want to ignore.
It’s important to always tighten the gas cap whenever you fill up or it can trigger the check engine light. This is because gas vapors can evaporate out of the filler hose, which will trigger the fuel sensor in your tank to alert you that you’re wasting gas. This is a very easy fix.
If a vacuum hose breaks or comes loose, it can cause your engine to misfire and/or perform sluggishly. Most cars have a sensor that monitors this hose and if it detects a drop in pressure, it signals a code and the check engine light comes on. Hoses are pretty easy and inexpensive repairs.
Mass Airflow Sensor
This sensor detects how much air is coming into the engine and regulates how much to mix with the gasoline to keep your engine running properly. If the sensor malfunctions, it can affect how the engine runs and your gas mileage.
How can I find out why my check engine light is on?
If your check engine light tends to come on fairly often, you can get an inexpensive code reader that will plug into the computer connection on your car and tell you what isn’t working correctly. They start around $40-50 and you can get them on Amazon or at a local car part store. These are handy because they can immediately tell you if you have a small problem, like a loose gas cap, or something that needs to be checked out immediately. If you don’t have one, just give us a call at Automotive Revival and we would be happy to take a look at your car and tell you why your check engine light is on.
Cheers, and Happy Motoring!
The Automotive Revival crew