Do You Know Why The Check Engine Light Goes On?

Sep 24, 2015 by


Why does your Check Engine Light come on? That’s the question most drivers ask as soon as they see their check engine light turn on. Unless you are aware of some impeding problems with your car, this comes as a complete surprise and oftentimes lots of worry. You may even ask yourself, “Should I pull over and have my car towed?”, or “Will this cost me thousands of dollars to fix?” Unless your car has stopped on the road and/or is smoking, the problem may not be a horrible as you think.

Don’t worry yourself too soon! The Check Engine Light is simply an indicator of any functions of your vehicle that are not operating at fully capacity. Many times, this does not mean your vehicle needs a complete overhaul that will drain your pockets. With that said, lets describe the check engine light as the indicator of anything that is slightly off with your vehicle, including a loose gas cap, faulty spark plugs wires or the worst of all, needing a new catalytic converter.

We will review a few of the top reasons your check engine light may go on.

1. Replace Your Oxygen Sensor

This is a device that works with your engine to keep it running efficiently, this is a commonly a problem in dusty and dry climates, but ultimately occurs with many vehicles.

2. Loose Gas Cap

This is perhaps the easiest car fix ever, just tighten or replace the gas cap. The effects of a faulty gas cap are reducing fuel efficiency which can cost you more money in gas.

3. Replace Catalytic Converter

This is a very severe problem and the cost can get into the thousands of dollars. However, with regular checks up with your mechanic, you can avoid running into this issue.

4. Replace Spark Plugs and Wires

Spark plugs are put to use on a regular basis. There’s really nothing you can do to prevent the wear and tear on spark plugs. Its a relatively easy and affordable repair, regular checkups will catch this before it becomes a more severe issue.

The check engine light originally known as the on-board diagnostic system was made for only for technicians to quickly be able to plug in their computer to access the problems with a car. This enabled auto shop to charge high prices for essentially plugging a computer into the car and reading the problems off a computer screen. The light indicator was added to consumer vehicles cars years later due to government regulations. There are even products you can buy to read your cars computer and give you the same information auto shops get when they do a diagnostics test.

The check engine light virtually always has something to do with the automotive emissions and with so much press surrounding environmental health, the government required vehicles be equipped with an indicator of when their car was damaging the environment. Hope this information dispels any myths to the check engine light and what causes it to turn on.

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