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. Many vehicle owners make the mistake of thinking that the code itself equals the diagnosis; this is actually not the case. The code simply lets the technician know what is currently wrong with the vehicle,


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 fail ther Virginia State Emission 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.

*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 | | Copyright January 24th, 2017