Top 3 Check Engine Light Causes
If you’ve ever been baffled by a check engine light coming on for seemingly no reason, you’re not the only one. Since they first started appearing in cars, the check engine light has been a common source of confusion and has best been compared to a crying baby – it’s impossible to ignore, gives you no information about what’s wrong, and can be extremely frustrating. So, what is your check engine light trying to tell you? Actually, it could be quite a few different things, but you most likely don’t have the right tools to find out for yourself.
What’s going on with the check engine light is that your car’s computer is producing an error code which could be anything from a reminder that you need an oil change to a notification of a severe engine problem. When the unfortunate light appears, your first stop should be Rx Auto Service or another qualified St. Charles repair shop. We’ll hook up a diagnostics tool to retrieve the error code and let you know exactly what it means and how it can be fixed. Here’s 3 of the most common reasons why your check engine light is illuminated.
Reason #1: The Oxygen Sensors
No, it’s not for outer space travel. Your car’s oxygen sensors are simply testing exhaust oxygen to measure how much fuel is being consumed and giving the data to the computer so the right mix of fuel and oxygen are delivered to the engine. When your light comes one, the most likely situation is that one of the oxygen sensors has become coated with oil ash and can no longer take readings. This can seriously affect your fuel efficiency, so it should be fixed in a timely manner.
Reason #2: The Gas Cap
This may sound silly, but did you remember to tighten the gas cap the last time you filled your car up? Believe it or not, a loose gas cap is the second most common cause of a check engine light coming on. When it happens, start by pulling over and checking the cap. Be sure to look for cracks or other problems that could be allowing air to escape and triggering the light. The good news is that even if you need a new gas cap, they are relatively cheap and can be found at any auto parts store.
Reason #3: Catalytic Converter
Again, it may sound like a component on a space shuttle, but it’s not. Your car’s catalytic converter reduces the harmful exhaust, but when it stops working, the effects will be very noticeable – your fuel efficiency will go done and the engine will seem sluggish and less responsive. If you’ve kept up with tune ups and other standard maintenance, a catalytic converter problem isn’t likely. If not, the good news is that it could be spark plugs or other cheap components affecting the converter. The bad news – if it is the catalytic converter, it could cost thousands of dollars to replace.
Are you one of the many St. Charles drivers that ignores the check engine light in the hopes that it will eventually go away? If so, you could be putting your vehicle at risk of developing a serious issue, which could cost a pretty penny to repair. Why not let Rx Automotive get rid of the anxiety? Stop by and we’ll explore the problem to clear not only the light but also the worry from your driving experience.