Before you even think about it, it’s never okay to ignore your check engine light. Your car, truck, or SUV has an onboard computer that monitors all systems at all times. When something goes awry, the computer illuminates the appropriate warning light on your dashboard. This system is in place to give you plenty of warning before something really goes wrong. There are five common reasons why your check engine light might come on. Here’s what they are.
Your vehicle’s O2 or oxygen sensor is part of its emissions system. One surefire way to fail a smog check is to have a faulty oxygen sensor. The O2 sensor keeps track of oxygen in your exhaust that hasn’t burned. If it’s failing and needs to be replaced, your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will go down the drain and you could damage your exhaust system and spark plugs.
Speaking of the exhaust system, another reason your check engine light might come on is that your catalytic converter is on the fritz. The catalytic converter takes carbon monoxide and turns it into carbon dioxide to prevent greenhouse gasses from escaping from your vehicle. When it fails, you’ll not only fail a smog test, you might also notice a rotten egg smell from your engine.
Spark Plugs and/or Wires
If your spark plugs or wires need replacing, your check engine light should come on. If you ignore it, your engine could begin to misfire and stall. The spark plugs ignite a mixture of fuel and air to fire up your engine. The wires provide the electricity for that spark. If either aren’t performing as they should, neither will your vehicle. In fact, it might not even start.
Your automobile’s air filter draws and cleans air that comes into your engine. The airflow sensor calculates how much air enters your engine. This air is mixed with the fuel as discussed above. If the sensor fails, the onboard computer cannot calculate how much fuel to mix with the air, and it will return a check engine light error to prompt you to bring your vehicle in for an inspection.
This last one is easy. In some cases, the check engine light will come on if you didn’t screw on your gas cap tight the last time you fueled up. Check your gas cap first. If it’s okay, bring your vehicle into Mike’s Auto Service Repair in West Springfield, MA. We’ll hook it up to our diagnostic computer and isolate the problem. Call us at 413-737-7806 for more information.