Top 5 Common Causes of a Check Engine Light

check engineIt’s tempting to put off a trip to the auto shop, but that could result in a more expensive repair. You don’t have to be a victim of auto anxiety.

If you’re curious about the most common causes of the check engine light, this blog is for you.

1. Your oxygen sensor needs to be replaced.

Oxygen sensors analyze the air and fuel in your engine. It passes information along to the catalytic converter, which turns dangerous emissions into less harmful substances. In other words, they work together to prevent air pollution.

If your oxygen sensor function malfunctions, your gas mileage could decrease by up to 40%. It gets worse. Neglecting to replace your oxygen sensor could lead to the death of your catalytic converter. That would turn a $200 repair into a $2,000 repair. Don’t risk it.

2. Your fuel cap is loose.

It only costs a few bucks to replace your fuel cap… and the one you have might just need to be tightened! This is why you shouldn’t assume the worst when your check engine light comes on.

Leaks, odors, fumes, noises, or jerky motions tend to accompany serious car problems. Nothing like that? It might just be your fuel cap. Pull over, unscrew your cap, and put it back on as tightly as you can. Go to the shop if the “check engine” light stays on. Consider yourself lucky if it turns off.

3. Your catalytic converter crapped out.

You had to know this was coming, right (see point #1)? This is the most expensive repair on this list… and it’s completely preventable! Don’t procrastinate when it comes to auto repair. Trust me.

4. Your spark plugs are failing.

You might never have to replace your spark plugs. They could last 100,000 miles in vehicles that were made after 1996. If you’re striving for the 200,000 mile club, you’ll definitely need to change your spark plugs at some point. Delaying this repair could cost you thousands, since bad spark plugs can cause permanent damage to your catalytic converter. Are you a DIY sort? Replacing spark plugs isn’t very difficult (once you take everything apart to get to the plugs).  Watch this video for a demonstration.

5. Your mass airflow sensor is having some issues.

Your mass airflow sensor (MAF) measures how the mass of air is flowing through your engine. It uses that info to determine how much fuel your engine needs to perform efficiently. If your vehicle is stalling at the time of your “check engine” light, your MAF might be malfunctioning. This can lead to an increase in emissions and 25% decrease in fuel economy.

No matter what is causing your check engine light, get your car to a mechanic as soon as you can. Did you find this blog helpful? If so, please share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Mechanically Yours,

Audra

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