Common Reasons for Check Engine Light

Although your vehicle’s dashboard may look cluttered with abundant information, it is not hard to miss the bright check engine light when it comes on. When this yellow warning light comes on, many drivers feel a sense of dread or urgency. That is with good reason – the check engine light means that something is wrong with your car, specifically surrounding the engine.

You should never dismiss a check engine light as it could put you and others in danger. Not to mention, it can become expensive to repair. Check engine lights can come on for a variety of reasons. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are 5 of the most common reasons for an illuminated check engine light.

  1. Loose Gas Cap - The gas cap is exactly what you would expect it to be. It is the lid that you screw on and off to fill up your tank. If you mistakenly leave it open, it can cause your check engine light to come on. Additionally, a faulty or damaged gas cap can also do the same. When the gas cap isn’t fastened, it causes fuel fumes to leak. You should fasten or replace it as soon as possible.
  2. Oxygen Sensor Problems - The oxygen sensor is a vital part of the emissions system. It monitors the unburnt oxygen and ensures your engine burns a right ratio of air and fuel. Over time, the device can get dirty and become faulty, leading to performance issues. You should replace it promptly.
  3. Failing Mass Airflow Sensor - The MAF calculates the air and assists the computer in figuring out how much fuel should be added to the engine. When the MAF is failing, your efficiency and performance will be impacted. 
  4. Worn Spark Plugs - Misfiring spark plugs are a common problem within the ignition system and can certainly trigger the check engine light. They help ignite the fuel and air inside the engine. If it has been a while since you replaced these, you should do so to avoid the check engine light.
  5. Faulty Catalytic Converter - The catalytic converter plays a major role in transporting and limiting emissions. While most of them last the life of the vehicle, some of them can give out after a certain number of miles. You should have your cat checked when your check engine light comes on.

If you are looking for check engine light diagnostics and repairs, please turn to the local experts at Exclusive Motorworks.

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