Every vehicle has some form of a check engine light on the dashboard. The check engine light acts a signal to let drivers and car owners know that there is something wrong with their vehicle. Cars are delicate machines that contain thousands of moving parts. Each system must work together to provide car owners with a safe and smooth ride. The check engine light signals when something is interrupting or close to interrupting the driving. Unfortunately for drivers, the check engine light does not give any explanation when it turns on. It is up to the car owner to diagnosis and fix the check engine light problem.
What causes the check engine light to turn on?
The check engine light is simply a signal or warning of a deeper problem. The check engine light is usually the first sign of a problem. Drivers may notice the dashboard light, but they may be clueless when it comes to the check engine light cause. There are many issues that may cause the check engine light to turn on. This light may not even turn on because of the engine.
The most common check engine light causes due to the:
- Catalytic Converter– A failing catalytic converter cannot turn carbon monoxide into the safer carbon dioxide gas.
- Gas Cap– The gas or fuel cap of the car’s tank may be loose or completely missing
- Ignition Coils– Ignition coils receive power from the battery and spark plugs.
- Mass Airflow Sensor– The mass airflow sensor works directly with the engine so a faulty sensor cannot properly communicate engine airflow.
- Oxygen Sensor– A poor oxygen sensor leads to other failing parts that handle the engine and emissions.
- Spark Plugs– The sparks plugs should be the connection between the ignition and combustion chamber.
What are check engine light warning signs?
If a driver knows the cause of their check engine light problem, they can quickly make changes or repairs for the vehicle in question. The previous check engine light causes can happen to any car so a driver must recognize the specific cause and symptoms. Different check engine light problems have individual symptoms like:
- Increase in emissions
- Low driving performance
- Other failing car parts
- Poor gas mileage
- Stalling engine
How do I prevent check engine light problems?
Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent check engine light problems. Maintenance doesn’t have to be daily chore. It is more of a routine check. There are simple ways to check on each of these pieces within the vehicle, especially when drivers are aware of the main check engine light causes and symptoms. Prevent check engine light problems by:
- Always tighten the car gas cap after fueling
- Have all the correct information about the car like make, model, year, etc.
- Put the vehicle on a maintenance schedule
- Visit the dealership if there are ever recalls on the vehicle
What can I do at home for my check engine light?
The check engine light may turn on without warning. Sometimes, it is the first warning of car troubles. Do not ignore the check engine light. Ignoring this little light on the dashboard can lead to more problems later. Car owners can even care for the check engine light at home. When a driver sees the check engine light, they can take a moment to stop and examine the car. At home, car owners can take care of the check engine light with:
- Do-It-Yourself auto repairs
- Monitoring the gas mileage, fuel economy and emissions
- Purchasing a new gas cap, spark plugs, sensors, etc.
- Reading the owner’s manual for a better understanding of the car
Car owners have a responsibility of caring for their car. Monitoring the check engine light is part of that responsibility. Make the appropriate repairs or contact a professional car care garage that can help with installations, repairs and replacements.