Engine Light Diagnosis Westchester County, NY
You’re driving along your usual route, and everything seems fine. Then, suddenly, your check engine light comes on and throws your day completely out of sync. You panic and wonder what it could mean. Will you have to take your car to a mechanic? Will the repair be expensive? How much time do you have before you need to get this fixed?
Luckily, there are only a few main reasons why a check engine light will come on, which we address in this article. So, if this has happened to you, read on to find out what this light could mean and the steps you can take to solve the problem.
Bad Spark Plugs
Your vehicle’s spark plugs create the spark that ignites the gas and air to power the engine’s cylinders. The fuel doesn’t burn without the spark, and your car’s engine will have no power. Sometimes, the problem starts with a misfire, and the spark plugs are working most of the time but weakening. They’ll eventually wear out, and you’ll need to replace them. A misfire can cause the check engine light to come on.
When your spark plugs begin to wear down, they’ll start to misfire more and more often, so you mustn’t ignore this issue. If you do ignore this problem, it will only worsen and may cause the engine to fail entirely down the road. In the meantime, you’ll notice your car’s performance worsening and fuel economy decreasing.
Loose Gas Cap
You may not think the gas cap has anything to do with the engine. Still, it’s part of the evaporative emissions system and an important component in your engine’s ability to run smoothly. The gas cap keeps gas in the vehicle, of course, but it also keeps the gas from evaporating out of your vehicle. The gas cap and the lines and valves in the gas tank recirculate the gas vapors and keep them from escaping.
The good news is that this is the easiest problem to fix if you see your car’s check engine light come on. While the problem could lie with the valves or lines in the gas tank, most often it’s a loose gas cap that triggers the engine light to come on when the problem is with the evaporative emissions system. So, if you see the check engine light illuminated on your dash, try screwing the gas cap on tighter to see if that solves the problem.
Faulty Oxygen Sensors
In your car, the oxygen sensors measure how much oxygen is left in the exhaust after combustion. Because they get so hot in their location near the exhaust, it’s not uncommon to need to replace them once your car hits higher mileage. If the oxygen sensor is the reason your check engine light has come on, note that there could be a different problem in the system that you may be able to fix without having to replace the oxygen sensor itself. Several components in this system can trigger the check engine light if they’re faulty.
If you leave this problem unchecked for too long, you’ll experience reduced fuel economy, and your engine will have to use more fuel than it does when your car is running properly, which will cost you more money. It can also cause damage to other parts of your vehicle, including the catalytic converter or the spark plugs. This could lead to more expensive fixes, so it’s best to take care of this problem sooner rather than later.
Bad Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter is an integral part of your car’s machinery. Its job is to superheat harmful emissions such as hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water vapor. If there’s a problem with the catalytic converter, your check engine light will illuminate to let you know there’s something wrong. There’s usually another issue that causes the catalytic converter to fail, and you’ll need to address that issue before you replace it. Replacing the catalytic converter without fixing the primary problem will also cause the new converter to fail.
If this problem is left unchecked, you’ll experience issues with your vehicle’s performance. You’ll also notice decreased fuel efficiency over time. Your car won’t be able to pass an emissions test until the problem is fixed, and the primary problem causing the catalytic converter to fail may eventually lead to the failure of the whole engine. You’ll want to resolve this issue before it becomes a bigger problem.
Problems With the Mass Airflow Sensor
Your vehicle’s mass airflow sensor measures the oxygen entering your engine. That measurement determines how much fuel your engine needs to burn to run properly. The problem could be a leak in the intake tract, but it could also be as simple as dirt or oil buildup on or around the sensor. If this is the case, cleaning the sensor might fix the problem. If not, you may have to replace it.
Problems with the mass airflow sensor will cause decreased performance in your vehicle. You’ll also have too much or too little airflow to your engine, which can cause other parts to fail.
Get Your Engine Checked
While seeing the check engine light come on in your vehicle can be concerning, know that you don’t have to stop driving and have your car towed to the nearest mechanic right away. The check engine light lets you know that there’s a problem, and while you don’t want to ignore it, you can continue driving until you can get an appointment with our service department. Our friendly staff can diagnose the problem for you and let you know the next steps to fixing it. We can even help you save money on your next service.