A check engine light is an indicator light on your car’s dashboard that indicates there may be a problem with your vehicle. As such, seeing that indicator light stay on can cause a panic attack. Admittedly, some of the problems indicated by a check engine light are significant. However, most are easily fixed and shouldn’t be feared or avoided.
Below are five of the issues that can cause your check engine light to illuminate along with information about why you shouldn’t ignore the check engine light:
1. Oxygen Sensor: O2 Sensor
One reason your check engine light might be illuminating is a bad oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor is used to measure the amount of oxygen in your vehicle’s exhaust system that has yet to be burned. It’s important for you take care of this issue quickly because having an oxygen sensor that doesn’t work properly reduces your fuel efficiency by 40% and can damage your catalytic converter and spark plugs, leading to more expensive repairs down the road.
2. Loose Gas Cap
One of the simplest reasons for a check engine light to come on is a loose gas cap. Your gas cap helps maintain pressure within the fuel tank by sealing the fuel system. If you don’t replace a poorly fitting gas cap, you can lose fuel via evaporation. However, if your gas cap just isn’t screwed on tightly, tighten it down and you should be good to go.
3. Bad Catalytic Converter
Your catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, protecting the environment. If you don’t replace a damaged catalytic converter, your car can run hot, your vehicle might not pass an emissions test and you might experience reduced fuel economy.
4. Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)
The MAF sensor works to measure the amount of air that enters the engine. It also determines how much fuel your engine needs to run efficiently. If you don’t replace a faulty MAF sensor, you can damage your catalytic converter, O2 sensors or spark plugs. You can also reduce your fuel economy.
5. Plug Wires or Spark Plugs Need Replacing
Your vehicle’s spark plugs help your car start by igniting the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. The spark plug wires deliver the spark to the spark plugs from your vehicle’s ignition coil. Worn plug wires or spark plugs can cause your catalytic converter to become clogged or damage your O2 sensors or ignition coils. You might also experience reduced fuel economy and poor engine performance, such as reduced power and/or your engine missing.
The above are five of the most common reasons your check engine light might come on. However, there are other possible reasons not listed. No matter what the cause, though, letting the problem go by ignoring it is never the answer and will almost certainly lead to more expensive repair needs.
What Should I Do If My check Engine Light Comes On?
If you are not sure of the problem, schedule an appointment with your local auto repair shop. If you feel your car may not be safe to drive, take it to your local auto shop immediately. Don’t put off what could cause more damage and expense or possible leave you stranded.
Call 678-455-5246 for more information and to get started! Schedule a service today!