Your Car Won’t Fix Itself

How to Handle Check Engine Lights

If you’ve been driving awhile, chances are you’ve seen the check engine light come on at some point in a vehicle you’ve driven. When the car is still running, you don’t hear an egregious noise and you don’t smell anything burning. It can be tempting to just keep driving and ignore the light. That’s never a good idea. This is your engine telling you it needs a check-up so bring it to Jeff’s Auto Repair in Bellevue, Washington. Our ASE certified technicians will find the issue behind the light and have you driving worry-free once more.

Potential Issues

The check engine light can be triggered by different issues, but there are several common causes:

Bad Oxygen Sensor

An oxygen sensor in need of replacement is the most frequent issue. Measuring the unburned oxygen remaining in your car’s exhaust, this sensor will cause your vehicle to run less efficiently and use more fuel if it has gone bad. A delay in replacement can also damage your catalytic converter and spark plugs.

Faulty Gas Cap

Surprising to some, the gas cap can also be an issue. If it’s loose or damaged, it can cause the check engine light to activate because the fuel system isn’t sealed. You may even be losing your expensive gasoline through evaporation and vapor leak.

Bad Catalytic Converter

Another culprit may be a malfunctioning catalytic converter. The catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Your engine performance and gas mileage decrease when the catalytic converter goes bad. It may even run hotter than normal.

Bad Mass Airflow Sensor

The mass airflow sensor, which measures how much air is entering the engine, can also cause the check engine light to illuminate if it needs attention. This part is important for determining the amount of fuel needed for efficient engine performance. If left unaddressed, you lose optimal performance and fuel economy, and you can also possibly incur damage to the spark plugs, catalytic converter, or oxygen sensor.

Worn Out Spark Plugs Or Spark Plug Wires

The need for new spark plugs or spark plug wires can also cause the check engine light to illuminate. They’re necessary for igniting the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder. Unless you replace them when necessary, performance and economy suffer, and the ignition coils, catalytic converter, or oxygen sensors could potentially be damaged.

Finding and Addressing the Problem

The only way to be sure of what has triggered the check engine alert is to connect the vehicle to an OBD-II reader to obtain the trouble code. Beyond that, a mechanic uses his/her expertise to pinpoint the exact problem based upon the trouble code domain. The check engine light will not go out on its own. To have the problem identified and corrected, bring your car to Jeff’s Auto Repair in Bellevue, Washington, and say goodbye to the check engine menace.

Written by Jeff's Auto Repair

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