What Are The Common Reasons For An Engine Light Turning On?
Get started by checking the 7 most common issues that can trigger an engine light.
- Loose gas cap: If the gas cap is loose or cracked, it’s not sealing the fuel tank to maintain proper pressure. The fix may be as simple as re-securing the cap more tightly, re-starting your car, and checking the dashboard again to see if the light has now turned off. A cracked gas cap means you’ll need a replacement.
- Faulty mass airflow sensor: This sensor measures the air entering the engine, to regulate how much fuel is needed to run the engine efficiently. Get this checked if your engine light comes on while your engine is having trouble starting, stalling, a rough idle, or a sudden change in the throttle position.
- Faulty oxygen sensor: Did the engine light come on at the same time as a loss in fuel economy? A faulty oxygen sensor can no longer measure the unburned oxygen in the exhaust. Get this fixed to regain control over how much air and fuel enters the engine’s cylinders, for engine efficiency and reduced pollution emissions.
- Faulty catalytic converter: The catalytic converter, in the exhaust system, turns toxic carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. A fault here usually arises from other mechanical faults that weren’t fixed in time.
- Damaged spark plugs or wires: Spark wires carry electricity generated by the ignition coil to the spark plug, to ignite the mixture of fuel and air in the combustion chamber. These are critical to starting your engine, so have these checked to prevent issues with turning your car on.
- Clogged or faulty exhaust gas recirculation valve: This improves engine efficiency and lowers the nitrogen oxide in the exhaust, by recirculating exhaust gases back into the combustion chambers for burning. Take your car in to have the valve cleaned and re-installed.
- Dead battery: The battery provides the electricity to get your engine started and power the car’s computer. Old batteries will need replacing.
Can I Ignore the Engine Light When It Comes On?
Your car’s computer is a fantastic piece of modern technology, processing thousands of inputs to keep itself running smoothly. When the engine light comes on, its self-diagnostic system is warning you to take action before any issues grow and become more expensive to fix.
As many parts of the engine’s transmission are interconnected, an initially small problem can snowball to affect more engine parts. When the engine light comes on, the best step is to take your car in to get it checked!
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