The check engine light is one of the most frustrating aspects of owning a car. It’s a light that tells you there’s something wrong with a car, but there’s no other information. It comes on without warning or explanation. Luckily, auto mechanics can plug a machine into your car to run a diagnostic and tell you what, exactly, the check engine light means. There are common problems in your car that can cause the check engine light to trip, and today we’re going to take a look at five of the most common.
1. Oxygen Sensor Malfunction
The oxygen sensor monitors how much fuel is being burned and regulates the oxygen-fuel mixture. Over time, the sensor can become covered in oil ash, reducing its effectiveness and ability to change the mixture. This can reduce gas mileage, increase emissions, and can lead to your catalytic converter getting busted – a much more expensive fix than simply replacing the sensor.
2. Busted Catalytic Converter
A broken catalytic converter will also trigger your check engine light. It changes harmful gases and materials in your engine into harmless compounds. Your car won’t go any faster when you depress the gas pedal when this happens. An experienced auto mechanic is the only person who can replace this part of your car – don’t try to fix this yourself!
3. Loose Gas Cap
The check engine light could also indicate that your gas cap is loose and leaking out fuel vapors. You should pull over and check the cap to see if there are any cracks on it. Retighten it and continue driving, observing whether the light turns off. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to replace the gas cap.
4. Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow sensor tells the car how much fuel to add to the air-fuel mixture. Faulty mass airflow sensors could cause your car to stall and reduce your fuel economy. This is usually caused by not replacing your air filter often enough (usually once a year) or an improperly fitted filter.
5. Spark Plugs or Wires Need Replaced
When your spark plugs misfire, it will cause a little jolt in your acceleration which you can feel while driving. It might trigger your check engine light as well. This is a really inexpensive fix and should be taken care of as soon as possible
Need your Check Engine Light Checked or Other Car Maintenance?
Auto Stop Limited Inc. is happy to service your vehicle and make sure all of your maintenance needs are properly addressed and resolved. Contact Auto Stop Limited Inc. online or give us a call at (410) 467-7600 to get your questions answered today. To get more vehicle maintenance tips, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.