Auto Service Repair

textCheck Engine Light

What You Need to Know About Your Check Engine Light

Just merely stepping into the car, putting on the seatbelt, turning on the engine, and stepping on the gas do not make a good day for a car owner or a driver – especially when there’s a little light of warning upfront telling you that there’s something wrong. When the check engine light is on – your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) system is telling you that something is wrong.

Cars have computers that control and monitor performance. The computer keeps tab of the variables like the engine speed, ignition timing, fuel mixture, and shift timing in automatic transmission in some cars. When there is a problem that the electronic control system couldn’t easily or automatically adjust, the computer turns the check engine light on and prompts the code for the trouble it detected. The code will point you to the possible culprit, which you or your local auto dealership technician can use for troubleshooting.

If you see this light, know of the following possible things that may be causing some problems in your car:

  • Loose, damaged, or missing gas cap
  • Worn-out spark plugs and plug wires that need to be replaced
  • Mass Airflow (MAF) sensor needs to be replaced
  • Faulty oxygen sensor needs to be replaced
  • Catalytic Converter needs to be replaced
  • Engine is wet
  • Gasket head has blown up
  • Loose or damaged hoses
  • Fuel injector needs to be replaced

If the light is on and steady, check your dashboard gauges to know if you have low oil pressure or if the car may be overheating. As the gas cap may be the cause, try to tighten it. You may have to do this several times before the light goes off.

If the light is still blinking, then there is a bigger problem than the gas cap. There could be engine problems that could cause more damage if not immediately and properly checked. If you are a mechanic then you must know what to do with your own car, but if you are not, you should take your car to a factory-trained technician from your local auto dealership somebody who could read the code generated by the car computer. He would know how to interpret the code and he would make the test, which should be done in absolute sequence.

There are cars that would be driving just fine even with the warning indicator on. These days, cars have computers that would attempt to compensate when it detects trouble. The driver may not notice it, but there are effects in performance and there may be fuel wastage. The car may not pass an emissions test, too.

Ignoring the check engine light will just make things worse because the car will get more damaged and the costs may become more expensive in the long run. If it’s not as simple as a loose gas cap, the car will be in better shape in the hands of factory-trained technicians from your local auto dealership. These master-certified technicians could help you find the trouble and fix the car professionally.


When Your Check Engine Light is On

Every vehicle has an onboard diagnostics system that gives you so much information about its current state, like if there’s a door that’s ajar or if anyone doesn’t have their seatbelts on. It’s also where the engine speed can be seen, as well as the amount of fuel left in the tank. Despite the importance of all the information found on the OBD system however, a lot of car owners still fail to pay attention to what it has to say. Among the most ignored is probably the check engine light, which either blinks or lights up when a problem is detected.

What causes it to light up?

There are a number of reasons why the check engine indicator lights up, and only a factory-trained technician from your local auto dealership would be able to give you the exact reason why it’s on. Here are some of the most common reasons for the light to turn on based on their experience:

  • The oxygen sensor needs replacement. Cars have an oxygen sensor that helps monitor how much fuel is being burned. Over time, it can get covered with the ash that comes from the burning oil, inhibiting its ability to give accurate data. Because of this, not only will the gas mileage decrease, but the emissions from the vehicle would increase as well.
  • The gas cap is faulty or loose. The light might be signaling you that there are fuel vapors leaking out of the gas cap. This normally happens when the gas cap was not tightened properly, or when the cap has a crack in it.
  • The catalytic convertor needs to be replaced. The catalytic convertor is the part that reduces the amount of exhaust coming out of your car. From the name itself, it converts the harmful materials produced when your vehicle’s engine goes through its usual cycle into harmless materials. The moment you fail to maintain your car properly however, this convertor starts malfunctioning and fails to do its job well, causing harmful chemicals to come out directly from your vehicle.
  • The mass airflow sensor needs replacement. If your air filter has never been replaced or was not installed properly, it could cause some damage to the mass airflow sensor. This sensor is responsible for adding the right amount of fuel based on the amount of air passing through the engine, and any damage would cause your car to stall, increase the amount of emissions, and decrease gas mileage.
  • Spark plugs and wires need replacement. The spark plug is responsible for initiating combustion within your engine. These need to be replaced when you’ve reached a certain mileage, or you’ll feel your car jolting each time you try to accelerate.

See how serious the potential problems are? So the next time you get into your car, be aware of your check engine light. And the moment that check engine light turns on, contact your local auto dealership right away and let their master-certified technicians figure out the specific problem and apply the most fitting solutions.

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