We all hate it when it comes on: the dreaded check engine light. That little dashboard light may as well say “Costly repair bill ahead.” In some cases, that may be true, but often, check engine lights are thrown due to small issues that can be easily remedied! Here are the some of the most common issues that result in a check engine light.
Bad Oxygen Sensor
An O2 sensor is part of the Emission Control System that sends air/gas data to your vehicle’s Engine Management System. Your vehicle requires a specific ration of air/fuel to run. The O2 sensor communicates this data to the software; thereby ensuring your vehicle is running correctly.
O2 sensors go bad due to carbon and emissions buildup. When it does, if not replaced quickly, it can lead to very costly repair bills such as replacing your catalytic converter. Bad O2 sensors can also cause a decrease in gas mileage, and increased emissions.
Get it fixed ASAP before it becomes costly!
Loose Gas Cap
Yep, that’s correct. Something as simple as a loose gas cap can throw your check engine light. Check your gas cap and make sure it’s tight and not cracked!
Bad Catalytic (Cat) Converter
A catalytic converter reduces the gas emissions before they leave your vehicle. More importantly, it drastically cuts the amount of carbon monoxide your vehicle emits! It’s important to make sure your cat converter is working correctly as it’s an essential part of your exhaust system.
Usually, a bad O2 sensor or bad spark plugs cause check engine lights. But cat converters can also wear out over time. The replacement cost for a catalytic converter may be costly. So keep up on regular vehicle maintenance!
Bad MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor)
Similar to the O2 sensor, the MAF sensor communicates air/fuel data to your vehicle’s Engine Management System. It tells it how much fuel to send.
MAF sensors can go bad due to air filters not being changed regularly (a very cheap regular maintenance item). If you don’t replace the bad MAF, you will begin to see a drastic decrease in gas mileage, and an increase in emissions.
The cost to replace a bad MAF sensor is average. Don’t panic on this one. But don’t put it off either!
Bad Spark Plugs
Spark plugs fail over time. On older vehicles, they can fail or need to be replaced every 25-50k miles. On newer vehicles, they can last up to 100k miles. This is another common cause for a thrown check engine light.
Replacing spark plugs is usually a relatively simple and affordable fix. But make sure you don’t wait, as it can cause serious damage to your engine!
If you have a check engine light, and not sure what is causing it, stop by Evans Automotive. We’ll diagnose the issue, make the repairs, and have you on your way.