Why Is My Check Engine Light Coming On?

Picture this. You’re driving to work in the morning and you’re stuck in the normal gridlock. You have your favorite playlist blasting through your vehicle’s speakers and your ultimate coffee drink in the cupholder. It isn’t so bad, even though you’re fed up with the stop-and-go routine. Suddenly, your check engine light turns on. You turn down your music and listen; no strange sounds. You don’t notice any of your gauges reading abnormal. You don’t smell anything. You shrug. It’s all good, isn’t it? Nope. We here at Mike’s Auto Service & Repair hate to say it but it’s not.

Exhaust System Problem

There are a number of reasons why your check engine came on but one of the primary ones is an exhaust system problem. Your vehicle’s onboard computer will illuminate the check engine light if the catalytic converter isn’t operating as it should, if the oxygen sensor is on the fritz, or if your mass airflow sensor has a problem. You might not see any other signs of concern with any of these parts, which is why you should never ignore your check engine light.

Combustion Concern

Another reason why the check engine light comes on could be an issue with your vehicle’s combustion. Oftentimes, worn spark plugs or spark plug wires will trigger a check engine alert even if they aren’t yet causing your vehicle to stall. If your vehicle is lurching or stalling, or if you’ve noticed it’s harder to get it to start up in the morning, you might have a combustion chamber issue. If the wires cannot create the spark for the spark plugs, the vehicle won’t start.

Fuel System Issue

Finally, the fuel system can be so sensitive that a loose gas cap can trigger a check engine warning. Seriously. If you just fueled up and your check engine light comes afterward, pull over to safety and check your gas cap first. If it’s loose, tighten it to see if that solves the problem. If it isn’t loose, drive to an auto repair shop right away, but only if it’s safe to drive your vehicle. If you notice other warning lights, gauges higher than they should be, or strange smells or sounds, have your vehicle towed.

No matter what, don’t panic. Mike’s Auto Service & Repair has the diagnostic equipment to determine why your check engine light came on and how to fix the underlying cause. We only staff certified auto technicians in our West Springfield, MA, shop, so call us to set up an appointment.


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