Why is my check engine light on?


The dreaded check engine light. Also known as the Malfunction Indicator lamp, it can be a nightmare for many drivers to see. Let’s find out some factors that lead to that neon orange symbol. Important to keep in mind is how wide-ranging the check engine light is. Anything from a spark plug issue to an aftermarket alarm could trigger the icon on your dashboard. It’s intimidating to see the check engine light cut on, knowing that an expensive repair could be around the corner. This causes many people to simply ignore the light. Ignoring signals from your vehicle won’t help you, and may lead to an even greater problem in the long term. Let’s go over a handful of the most likely problems.

  • Catalytic converter: Helps protect the environment by converting carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide. Neglected maintenance will reduce fuel economy and performance.
     
  • Oxygen (O2) Sensor: Measures the amount of unburned oxygen in your exhaust system. Without repair, your vehicle burns more fuel than it needs and you can harm your exhaust system and spark plugs.
     
  • Loose Gas Cap: As silly as it sounds, a loose cap can trigger the light and a more common occurrence than you would think. A loose cap increases emissions and reduces gas mileage.
     
  • Mass Airflow Sensor: Measures the air coming into your motor. With a bad sensor, the engine will now know the proper amount of fuel to add.
     
  • Spark Plugs or Plug Wires: These provide the spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. If your plug fails, you will experience reduced fuel economy, engine misfiring, and reduced power.

With so many wide-ranging potential issues, it’s important to bring your vehicle to a trusted technician for a proper diagnostic. There are cheap scan tools and even Bluetooth compatible devices that sync with your vehicle. That said, nothing replaces a skilled mechanic. So, bring your vehicle to Ferber’s Tire and Auto for a diagnostic today!