Chances are at one time or another, you probably experienced a Check Engine Light on your vehicle’s driver information area or dashboard. Even though your car may still continue to run, do not take this warning lightly. Sometimes the fix can be very simple, but postponing to have this problem diagnosed by a qualified technician could lead to costly repairs.
One of the most common Check Engine Light repairs is the oxygen sensor. The O2 sensor can fail as a result of neglecting car repairs or simply by using gas with a higher concentration of ethanol. Because the sensor works with the car’s onboard computer to create the fuel-to-air ratio, a malfunction can occur and as much as a 40 percent drop in fuel economy and performance could result.
Catalytic converters can also fail causing a Check Engine Light, but usually these parts only fail when there is an underlying problem such as bad spark plugs or a faulty ignition coil. Ignition coils use the current from the battery to ignite the spark plugs. Ignition coils can malfunction due to high under hood temperatures and age, and these failures can cause other problems within your engine.
The mass air flow sensor, or MAF, can also trigger the Check Engine Light warning. The MAF measures the air coming into the engine for combustion and a faulty sensor will decrease gas mileage by as much as 25 percent. A faulty vacuum hose or loose fitting can also be the problem. When vacuum hoses or fittings leak, the system that traps vapors (EVAP or evaporative emission control) will trigger the light.
If you’re lucky when the Check Engine Light illuminates, the fix can be simple: check your gas cap. A loose or missing gas cap can trigger the warning light.
These are some common but not all inclusive of the reasons why a Check Engine Light can occur. The key is, when you see this light on, it’s best to have your technician check it out as soon as possible.
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