Your vehicle has a number of indicator lights on the instrument cluster that tell you when certain items need your attention and require maintenance. Some of the lights let you know things like if the seat belts are buckled properly, if the tires have the proper air pressure and if the vehicle has the proper oil pressure, among other car service needs.
But what does it mean when the check engine light is on?
There are several things that can set off the check engine light and require your attention. The next time you see the check engine light indicator go off, take your vehicle straight to an ASE-certified mechanic to have them check the following components.
1. Airflow Sensor
A car’s airflow sensor is designed to measure the air passing through the engine and how much fuel the engine needs. If the sensor is blocked or not working properly, it will send a message to the instrument panel, setting off the indicator light. Replace the airflow sensor to correct the situation.
2. Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter is part of the vehicle’s exhaust system and designed to convert carbon monoxide gases into carbon dioxide. When the converter is not working properly, it will result in less fuel efficiency and poor performance in your engine, sending a message that sets off the indicator light. Have the catalytic converter inspected and replaced if needed to correct the situation.
3. Loose Gas Cap
It seems like a very simple thing, but a loose gas cap can also set off the check engine light. If the cap is loose, it breaks the seal of the fuel system, sending a message to the indicator light. The fuel system is designed to work with pressure and when that seal is broken it reduces the pressure in the system. Just checking the gas cap to verify that it is closed correctly may help take care of the indicator light.
4. Oxygen O2 Sensor
The O2 sensor varies just slightly from the mass airflow sensor in that the O2 sensor measures the unburned oxygen in your vehicle’s exhaust system. If the O2 sensor is not working properly, it can affect the catalytic converter and/or the spark plugs, sending a message to the check engine light. The issue can be corrected by replacing the O2 sensor.
5. Spark Plugs or Wires
The spark plugs and wires of your vehicle should be replaced on a regular basis. The plugs and wires are responsible for igniting the fuel and air combination in the piston chamber to run the engine. When the plugs and wires are too old or worn out, it can cause a number of problems ranging from poor performance to issues with the catalytic converter or the ignition coil. The plugs and wires should be changed approximately every 30,000 miles routinely. This will help to keep the engine running efficiently.
If you replace the plugs and wires but the check engine light still won’t go off, check other issues like the ignition coil or catalytic converter for problems. If there are still issues with the check engine light, visit Your Mechanic Services or talk to your local mechanic for more information.