My Check Engine Light Came On. Now What?


Fairfax, Virginia - When the dreaded check engine light comes on, it strikes fear into every driver's soul.  Unlike your tire pressure light, which always means check your tire pressure, the check engine light could indicate a variety of issues.  The worst thing you can do in this situation is to ignore the warning.  Getting your check engine light is important and most problems that trigger a check engine light require immediate attention, if ignored these problems can snowball into a greater and more expensive issue.  


What Can Trigger a Check Engine Light?

Don't be caught off-guard when you check engine light turns on; these are some of the most common issues that can trigger that dreaded light.  

Something is wrong with your gas cap:  A loose, missing, or damaged gas cap will trigger the check engine light.   While this will eventually lead to fuel evaporating from your tank, this is one of the best case scenarios for a check engine light.  A gas cap is a quick, inexpensive, and overall easy fix.  

You need new oxygen sensors:  Oxygen sensors measure the unburned oxygen present in your exhaust system.  A faulty oxygen sensor can result in up to 40% decrease in fuel efficiency.  

Your catalytic converter has failed:  A catalytic converter converts the highly toxic exhaust from your engine into less harmful carbon dioxide.  A faulty catalytic converter can lead to decreased fuel economy and can cause you to not pass the Virginia State Emissions test.  

You need to repair or replace your spark plugs:  Bad spark plugs can cause your oxygen sensors and catalytic converter to fail eventually.  Having your spark plugs checked will not only ensure performance and fuel efficiency in the short term but protect you from long term issues.

You need to replace your mass airflow sensor: Your airflow sensor is related directly to your fuel efficiency.  Your engine needs air to run; the airflow sensor measures the quantity of air and gasoline required to run your engine.  If you have a faulty airflow sensor, your vehicle won't know how to burn fuel efficiently.

Take Your Car to a Professional

Though these are some of the top reasons your check engine light is triggered, the list is not exclusive.  A professional auto repair shop will be able to take your vehicle's vital signs to diagnose the issues comprehensively.  Don't fear the unknown and delay taking your vehicle to the shop when your check engine light is on; procrastination can be costly.


Repairing Your Car Doesn't Have to Be Inconvenient

At Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto, we know your life doesn't stop when you have car trouble.  Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto makes vehicle maintenance and repairs convenient for Northern Virginia residents. Enjoy our comfortable lounge with free wifi and premium coffee.  Have somewhere to be? Our customer shuttle that will get you to work and bring you back to our shop.  

*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair.

Copyright Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto - Published January 24th, 2017