What to Do When the Check Engine Light Comes On

The Light’s On. Now What? — Jeff’s Auto Repair

When the check engine light comes on along your daily drive, it likely gives you an uneasy or even alarmed feeling. If it happens to you, don’t panic. Your car isn’t going to spontaneously combust in five o’clock traffic, and the wheels aren’t going to fall off at the next stoplight.

If the check engine light is your only warning, proceed to your destination (unless it’s across the country), and make an appointment to have it checked. You should not, however, ignore the problem or drive for extended periods of time or distances without getting attention for it. If you’re in the Renton, Washington, area, schedule a visit with Jeff’s Auto Repair.

Common Causes

The check engine light isn’t a reference to just one issue. In fact, it may illuminate for a wide variety of reasons. These are numerous enough to be organized by category to point technicians in the right direction for repairing the problem. Even though there are many possible causes, our technicians have noted some of the most common triggers.

The simplest problem to correct is a faulty gas cap. That’s right; a loose or poorly fitting tank closure creates a fuel system breach. That allows fuel to evaporate, and it can also make the check engine light come on. Also, a bad oxygen sensor can be a problem. It’s responsible for measuring the amount of unburned oxygen in vehicle exhaust. If it isn’t working as it should, not only will the dashboard light illuminate, but your auto won’t pass an emissions inspection until the sensor is replaced.

The problem may also lie with a malfunctioning catalytic converter. This important part of the emissions/exhaust system converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and lessens the toxicity of other combustion by-products. Other causes may be aging spark plugs, damaged spark plug wires, or a bad mass airflow sensor. This sensor helps your vehicle regulate the amount of fuel injected for combustion. It accomplishes this task by measuring the amount of engine air flow.

Help for the Check Engine Light

When you bring your ailing auto to Jeff’s Auto Repair, one of your certified technicians will connect your vehicle to the OBD-II reader. This device communicates with your car’s computer, obtaining a trouble code that will help identify the problem. The mechanic will then use his/her expertise and training to hone in on the specific issue within that category that is responsible for the message. That saves you the hassle, time, and money of trying to guess at the problem, and it will help you ensure that the issue is fixed so that your car can pass emissions testing or inspection when the need arises.

Written by Jeff's Auto Repair

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