One of the most common scenarios at Carolina Auto Service are customers who come in, panicked because their engine check light is on. Many people think that when this light illuminates, an imminent breakdown will occur. Unlike other dashboard lights that signal an impending emergency, you have leeway. Although you shouldn’t ignore the engine check light indefinitely, it does indicate a potential problem that your mechanic should investigate.
Most problems associated with the engine check light are relatively inexpensive fixes, but have the potential to turn into catastrophes if ignored. When this light comes on, the best course of action is to come into our facility and have one of our technicians plug a small computer that will read the code produced by the error light and determine the problem. Although dozens of problems can make the light illuminate, these are the most common ones.
Loose or Cracked Gas Cap
Vapors can leak out of a loose or cracked cap, causing a reduction in gas mileage and increasing emission. Sometimes a loose cap can cause the light to turn on and then turn off a few miles later. Cracked caps are easy and inexpensive to replace with the piece itself usually costing less than $20.
Faulty Oxygen Sensor
Most cars ad trucks have between two and four sensors that monitor unburned oxygen coming from exhaust. Bad sensors are unable to provide data to your vehicle’s computer, resulting in poor gas mileage and in increased emissions. Ignoring this problem can lead to failure of the catalytic converter, making your repair bill much more expensive.
Mass Airflow Sensor
This part measures air entering the engine to determine the amount of fuel needed for efficient operation. A faulty sensor can damage spark plugs, oxygen sensors and even the catalytic converter, leading to stalling, increase emissions and decreased gas mileage.
Worn Spark Plugs or Wires
Spark plugs and wires help deliver the energy that ignites the air/fuel mixture in your vehicle’s combustion center. Failure to replace them results in poor performance and decreased fuel economy and can also lead to a clogged catalytic converter.
By far the most expensive repair at more than $2,000, the catalytic converter is responsible for reducing exhaust gases and converting carbon monoxide into harmless compounds. When it fails completely, the vehicle won’t run.
There are certainly many causes for a check engine light but if yours comes on it’s best to have it checked out by ASE certified local repair shop. And of course if you’re in the Winston Salem area Carolina auto service is here to help. Contact us today to set an appointment with one our technicians.