When you start your car or drive down the road, there are several things that can cause your check engine light to come on. Some of these reasons could be minor issues such as a loose gas cap, while others may require more serious attention and prompt you to take your car in for repair or an inspection.
Here are 5 common causes of why your check engine light is on.
1. Loose or Faulty Gas Cap
One of the most common reasons for a check engine light to come on is when your gas cap is not securely closed and sealed. This can lead to fuel vapors being released into the atmosphere, resulting in an emissions issue.
The best way to determine if this is the cause of your check engine light coming on is to make sure that your gas cap is securely closed and tightened.
2. Faulty Oxygen Sensor
Another cause of a check engine light is an oxygen sensor malfunctioning. The oxygen sensor is responsible for providing the car’s computer with information about how much oxygen is present in the engine.
When this sensor malfunctions, it can lead to a variety of different issues such as poor fuel economy and increased emissions. If it detects an issue, it can trigger your check engine light.
In order to fix this issue, the faulty oxygen sensor will need to be replaced.
3. Loose or Faulty Spark Plugs
The spark plugs are responsible for providing the energy needed to ignite the air/fuel mixture in order to start your engine. If these spark plugs become loose or faulty, it can cause misfires and other problems which will trigger the check engine light.
Replacing faulty or worn-out spark plugs is a relatively simple repair and should be done as soon as possible in order to reduce the chance of further engine damage.
4. Faulty Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter helps to reduce the amount of toxic gases released into the atmosphere by helping to convert these gases into less harmful substances.
But if there is an issue with your catalytic converter, it can cause a buildup of too much oxygen in your engine, which will trigger the check engine light.
In some cases, this issue can be solved by replacing the converter, however more serious damage may require a replacement of other components within the exhaust system.
5. Dirty Air Filter
A dirty air filter can also cause a check engine light to come on. The air filter helps ensure that only clean, fresh air is getting into your engine and when it becomes clogged or dirty, it can lead to an imbalance of oxygen in the engine, causing issues with the performance of your vehicle.
Replacing a dirty air filter is an easy and inexpensive repair that can be done to help prevent further damage to your engine.
What to Do When You See “Check Engine” Light Comes On
If you find that your check engine light is on, it’s important to stop your car safely and get it checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the issue can lead to more serious and costly damage down the line.
An experienced auto mechanic should be able to diagnose the issue quickly and accurately in order to give you an effective solution.
Getting regular maintenance checks on your vehicle is also a great way to prevent these issues from arising in the first place. Taking preventative measures can save you time and money in the long run.
By understanding the most common reasons why a check engine light comes on, you can be better prepared to address any issues that may arise.
With regular maintenance and attention to any issues that may arise, you can prolong the life of your vehicle and ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.
If you are ever in doubt about what is causing the check engine light to come on, it’s always best to consult with an experienced auto technician. They will be able to accurately diagnose the issue quickly and provide you with the best solution for your specific situation.