Have you ever been just driving along and your check engine light turns on? You’re probably not alone. But when we’ve got somewhere to be – the last thing we want to see is that check engine light turning on. Your check engine light is a warning system that something may be amiss with your car. But how do you know what it’s trying to tell you? The short answer is to make an appointment with your local mechanic and ask them to figure it out. The long answer is it could be several things. We’re covering the most common issues your car could be having when your check engine light turns on.

Loose or faulty gas gap

Your gas cap and valves in your gas tank circulate your gas and keep it from escaping. If your gas cap is loose, it may cause you to lose fuel due to evaporation, or cause your fuel system to circulate improperly. If your check engine light goes on, this is a great place to start to solve the problem.

Check engine light & Worn spark plugs

Your spark plugs ignite a mixture of fuel and air to create combustion which powers your engine’s cylinders. If your spark plugs aren’t firing right, it can cause an engine misfire which increases your hydrocarbon emissions and causes weaker performance from your engine.

Faulty Catalytic Converter

Your catalytic converter changes carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide which helps protect the environment. When your catalytic converter is faulty, it can reduce fuel economy and increase emissions. Before your jump to replacing it – it’s important to know that a faulty catalytic converter is typically caused by something else like a blown head gasket which can force burnt coolant vapor into your exhaust. It’s always a good idea to have your mechanic diagnose your issue so you get the right solution.

Dirty MAS Airflow Sensor

Your MAS airflow sensor determines how much fuel is needed to run your engine. It measures the amount of air entering the engine, and can be susceptible to oil and dirt buildup – so it may just need a cleaning.

Oxygen Sensor Failure & Check engine light

Your oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburnt oxygen in your car’s exhaust. It then sends data back to your car’s computer which uses it to regulate the mixture of fuel + air that enters the cylinders. When you have an oxygen sensor failure, your car can keep running, but it will burn more fuel, and can eventually damage your spark plugs and catalytic converter.

Vacuum Leak

Your vacuum system helps decrease emissions by routing the fumes of evaporated gas through your engine. Vacuum hoses can crack or dry out especially if exposed to intense heat and cold. You’ll also want to check for cracked fittings and loose connections.

Ignition Coils

Your ignition coils deliver electrical pulses to each spark plug. When your engine computer sends the signal, the coil releases pent up energy to the spark plug where it ignites the air and fuel mixture. Your ignition coils are prone to failure after several years and failure can lead to poor fuel economy, and decreased engine power.

Check engine light and issue with the Fuel Injector

Each engine cylinder has a fuel injector which is a small, electronically activated valve that regulates how much fuel is sprayed into the cylinders during the intake cycle. Our fuel has natural imperfections and when combined with carbon from combustion, this mixture can cause miniscule holes in the injector to clog. Complete clogging can cause the injector to get stuck open and can continuously leak fuel into the cylinder leading to a rough running engine.

Your check engine light is a sign that something has gone awry in your engine that needs a further look. The next time your check engine light turns on, we’d love to help. Simply make an appointment and our team will diagnose what’s going on and get you back on the road in no time.