What are the Most Common Check Engine Light Culprits?

Checking Off the Check Engine Light Issues:  Common Culprits that Trigger the Warning 

No driver wants to see the check engine light come on.  First, it’s a little frightening.  Is your car about to break down?  Second, it’s irritating.  This warning indicator is not specific, so what exactly is the problem?  If your vehicle’s (aggravating!) little light has come on, you shouldn’t worry excessively, but neither should you ignore it.  Bring your car to Integrity Automotive in Williamstown, Maryland.  We’ll get the light to go off and get you safely back on the road.

Most Frequent Causes 

While a variety of issues can trigger a check engine warning, there are a few commonly reported causes.  One such problem is a malfunctioning oxygen sensor.  This sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust.  If it needs replacing, the car will likely run less efficiently and burn more fuel.  Failure to replace the oxygen sensor in a timely manner can damage spark plugs and the catalytic converter.  Another simple, yet surprisingly common issue is an improperly fitting gas cap.  If it is damaged or loose, the fuel system won’t seal properly.  Not only can this cause the warning light to illuminate, but it can also cause you to lose your expensive fuel through vapor leak or evaporation.  Also, the catalytic converter, which converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, can malfunction, causing the warning.  When this part goes bad, your gas mileage decreases, engine performance lags, and the vehicle may even run hotter than usual.  Measuring the amount of air entering the engine, the mass airflow sensor can also trigger the check engine message if it needs replacing.  The measurement provided by this part allows your car to determine the amount of fuel needed for your engine to perform efficiently.  If you ignore the problem, your auto does not perform at its best, nor does it get maximum gas mileage.  It can even lead to spark plug, oxygen sensor, or catalytic converter damage.  Damaged or worn spark plug wires or aging spark plugs are other culprits that frequently lead to a check engine indicator.  These are necessary for igniting the fuel-air mixture inside the engine’s cylinders.  Failure to replace them as needed will result in poor performance and fuel economy as well as possibly damage the oxygen sensors, ignition coils, and catalytic converter.  

Best Approach to Repair 

If your check engine light has come on, don’t take chances by trying to guess at the problem or ignoring it.  The only way to identify the problem with certainty is to have a qualified technician connect your vehicle to an OBD-II reader which will generate a trouble code.  He or she will then use expertise and experience to find the specific issue and repair it.  The ASE certified mechanics at Integrity Automotive can do this for you, checking the check engine light off your list.

Written by Integrity Automotive

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