Check Engine Light

Check Engine Light – Diagnostics & Repairs 

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Why is my check engine light on?

When your check engine light suddenly comes on, it doesn’t mean your car is about to fall apart. But it does indicate that something in your vehicle needs attention, and it’s essential to have it checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

The check engine light is an integral component of your car’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) system, designed to monitor your engine and other critical systems for potential issues. The moment it detects any irregularity, it illuminates the check engine light, serving as an early warning system.

7 Common Triggers

  1. Loose Gas Cap: A loosely sealed gas cap is a frequent cause of the check engine light coming on.
  2. Internal Engine Problems: More serious concerns within the engine can trigger the warning light.
  3. Catalytic Converter Issues: A faulty catalytic converter can lead to check engine light activation and emission-related problems.
  4. Spark Plug, Spark Plug Wires, or Ignition Coil Troubles: Malfunctions in these components can affect engine performance and trigger the light.
  5. Oxygen Sensor Malfunction: The oxygen sensor plays a crucial role in optimizing fuel efficiency. When it malfunctions, it can result in the activation of the check engine light.
  6. Mass Airflow Sensor Damage: Problems with the mass airflow sensor can impact air-fuel mixture ratios and engine performance, leading to the light’s activation.
  7. Quality of Gas: Poor-quality or contaminated fuel can prompt the check engine light to come on.

Why have your check engine light diagnosed?

Ignoring your check engine light can lead to costly repairs, reduced fuel efficiency, and emissions problems down the road. The check engine light is a warning signal that something is wrong with your car’s engine or emissions system. By having the problem diagnosed and fixed early, you can save yourself money and hassle in the long run.

Here are some of the specific consequences of ignoring your check engine light:

  • More expensive repairs: If you continue to drive with the check engine light on, the problem could get worse and cause more damage to your car. This could lead to more expensive repairs down the road.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency: A faulty engine or emissions system can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency. This is because the engine is not able to operate at its peak efficiency.
  • Emissions problems: A faulty engine or emissions system can also cause your car to produce more emissions. This is bad for the environment and could also lead to you failing your emissions inspection.

What should I do when my check engine light turns on?

When your check engine light comes on, pay attention to how your car is driving. If it feels like something is wrong, take it to the nearest mechanic right away. If your car seems to be running fine, you can do a few checks before going to the mechanic.

If the light came on after you refueled, it may be a loose gas cap. Make sure the gas cap is screwed on tight and in good condition. If you’re using lower-grade gas than your car needs, that could also trigger the light. In that case, you may need to have your gas tank drained by a professional.

If you know there’s another problem, the best way to find out is to read the diagnostic code stored in your car’s engine control unit (ECU). You can use an OBD-II scanner to do this at home, or our professionals at Smith Auto can perform a diagnostic scan and give you proper feedback on what repairs your vehicle might need.