Most, if not all, cars are designed with an internal auto diagnostics system that monitors various parts and systems within the vehicle. The check engine display light is the best example of this. This is usually displayed on your car’s dashboard and will come on whenever the system detects a problem. There are various reasons to check your engine light, and knowing when to act on it can save you a lot of time and money. Let us consider some of the reasons your check engine light is on.
Something Is Wrong With the Oxygen Sensor
When the check engine light turns on, one of the most common causes is a faulty or failing oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor monitors the amount of oxygen in your car’s exhaust fumes and can often be worn out over time due to excessive heat or corrosion. It will trigger the check engine light if it senses that there isn’t enough oxygen. While your engine may continue running even with the sensor malfunctioning, it will burn more fuel than normal, affecting your car’s efficiency. Over time, failure to replace the oxygen sensor can also damage your catalytic converter.
Faulty Spark Plug
The spark plugs, which act as a gateway between the fuel in your car’s cylinders and its engine, are very important components of your vehicle. As such, when these parts become worn out over time, you may find that your check engine light will come on as a warning sign to let you know that the spark plugs require servicing or replacement. Over time, the spark plug wires can become fouled or damaged, which will cause the engine to misfire. This can trigger the check engine light and, if left unchecked, can lead to severe engine damage.
Catalytic Converter Failure
The catalytic converter reduces emissions from the vehicle’s exhaust system. It converts the poisonous carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide before being released into the atmosphere. If the converter isn’t working properly, it can trigger the check engine light. In some cases, the only way to fix a problem with the catalytic converter is to replace it. Luckily, this is a relatively inexpensive repair.
The Mass Airflow Sensor Needs a Replacement
A malfunctioning mass air flow (MAF) sensor can be one of the major reasons why a check engine light shows up on your dashboard. This sensor is a vital part of your car’s engine, as it determines the amount of air that gets into the engine. It will trigger the check engine light if it senses that there isn’t enough air. In most cases, replacing the mass airflow sensor is a relatively simple and inexpensive repair.
Missing or Loose Gas Cap
One of the other many reasons your check engine light may be coming on is because the gas cap is loose or missing. The fuel cap is responsible for sealing the fuel system and keeping the vapors from escaping. If it’s not tightened properly, or if it’s missing altogether, it can trigger the check engine light. In most cases, this is an easy fix – simply tighten the fuel cap or replace it for better fuel economy.
Aftermarket Alarm Issues
If you have an aftermarket alarm system installed, it could be the reason your check engine light is on. Sometimes, the alarm system can trigger the check engine light if it’s not installed properly. If you suspect your aftermarket alarm system is the problem, you should take it to a professional to check it out.
A vacuum leak can also trigger the check engine light. The engine relies on a series of hoses and valves to create a vacuum. A leak in one of these hoses or valves can cause the engine to run rough, which will trigger the check engine light. In most cases, a vacuum leak is relatively easy to fix.
In some cases, faulty sensors can trigger the check engine light. The oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, and throttle position sensor are all common culprits. In most cases, replacing a faulty sensor is the only way to fix it.
Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve Failure
The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve recirculates the exhaust gases back into the engine. It directs the exhaust gases into the intake manifold, where they are then burned again. If the EGR valve fails, it can cause engine issues, which will trigger the check engine light. In most cases, the only way to fix a failed EGR valve is to replace it.
A dead battery can also turn on the check engine light. A common issue that drivers may need to address is when their car battery can no longer provide the sufficient power necessary to keep the engine running. This could cause a multitude of issues, from stalling while driving to not starting at all. Therefore, if you are experiencing this problem with your vehicle it is best to head to your mechanic immediately. Fortunately, replacing a dead battery is usually quite straightforward, particularly if you enlist a professional auto mechanic for help.
What Should I Do When My Check Engine Light Comes On?
If your check engine light codes come on, you should first try to figure out what’s causing it. Check the fuel cap to make sure it’s tight. If it’s loose or missing, tighten it or replace it. If that doesn’t work, take your car to an auto repair shop and have it diagnosed. They will have the tools and knowledge necessary to figure out the issue.
Need Auto Engine Repairs?
If you’re not sure what’s causing your check engine light in Vancouver, WA, or if you need help fixing the problem, Ron’s Auto & RV can help. Our team of certified mechanics is here to provide you with the quality auto repairs you deserve. Schedule an appointment by contacting us today, and let us help you get your car back to driving safely.
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