Check engine light ? What does it mean?

By September 30, 2018 Diagnostic

Check engine light and a few potential reasons why it came on

Your dashboard, a cluster of helpful dials and lights that tell you about your vehicle’s status at all time, it’s our most trusty friend while driving, that is until the dreaded check engine light comes on. Of course, our immediate instinct is to hope for something simple and that can be easily and quickly remedied, without a costly repair bill, but most importantly we begin to hope it’s a minor enough thing that we can get to where we need to go before the vehicle is no longer drivable. The good news is check engine lights tend to mean there is a starting point for a diagnosis and can help to diagnose most simple problems since they throw a code that a technician can read and help to interpret, so getting your vehicle back up and running is nothing more than a quick trip away from the mechanic. We are going to list below a few reasons why engine lights can come on to help ease your mind when potential issues arise.

Mass Air Flow Sensor or MAF:

Your mass air flow sensor is an important component for your engine’s health and proper function as it is measures the amount of air coming into your engine and helps your vehicle to determine how much fuel to mix into the combustion chamber to run smoothly. If your MAF has an issue and isn’t working as it should it can degrade your vehicles performance and begin to damage other components such as your cars catalytic converter, O2 sensors and even your spark plugs. A malfunctioning MAF can trigger a check engine light and should be checked out before it causes other issues, but is usually an inexpensive and simple fix.

Catalytic Converter

This is an incredibly common issue that vehicles face over their service lifetime. Over time a catalytic converter wears out as its main job is to help covert harmful gasses like carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and scrubs a lot of the harmful fumes that come out of an exhaust out of the air. Many times, when a catalytic converter is going out it means theirs others issues with the vehicle as well to get checked out but a check engine light is the first place to start with them.

Gas Cap

One of the simplest and most common problems that will trigger a check engine light is a simple gas cap. The gas cap seals the tank allowing it to build up pressure to pump fuel to the engine. When the cap is loose pressure isn’t built up, meaning fuel delivery is inefficient and gas can evaporate losing your precious fuel. Simply tightening a gas cap or replacing it when its rubber seals have worn out can fix a check engine light

Spark plugs and spark plug wires

Your car has different monitoring systems, one of them is the spark and ignition system, If your spark plugs aren’t working optimally or the wires are failing your car can trigger an engine light. A bad set of spark plugs can cause your engine to run poorly, or adversely affect fuel mileage. Having a technician check out spark plugs and wires with a tune up is always good idea.

O2 Sensor

A failing o2 sensor is one of the most common issues a vehicle may face. An O2 sensor that goes un fixed may cause other issues in your vehicle along with making it run poorly, this can even lower the efficiency of your vehicle’s mileage by up to 40%. This is a common and simple issue to remedy that can also cause dirty engine parts if not dealt with early on.

Overall your vehicles engine light will often come on for very common items and should be investigated sooner rather than later. The check engine light is a wonderful tool to help diagnose simpler issues in a vehicle. A trained technician should be able to help you quickly and painlessly diagnose your vehicle. At Vibrance Automotive we have the resources to help you keep your vehicle happy and healthy and you safe on the road.