The dreaded “Check Engine” light is associated with doom-and-gloom for many drivers. “Will the engine die?” “Can I make it home?!” “Am I seeing smoke?” In all actuality, the light is a precursor to internal damage and is designed as an early warning sign. Read on for five common reasons the “Check Engine” light comes on.
- Spark plugs have burnt out: The conductor of the engine, spark plugs provide the necessary spark (hence the name) that ignites the fuel and air mixture, which creates engine power. Electricity crosses the gap between the ends of the plug, providing the proper voltage to the ignition. As the gap lessens and the spark plug gets worn down, the engine misfires, loses power, creates excess wear, and lowers gas mileage. If left unrepaired, an eroded spark plug will inevitably cause damage to connecting wires and ignition coils.
- Gas cap is loose: The gas cap has a perfect seal on the fuel tank, so that any escaping vapor can be a hazard. A fuel level monitor can sense leaking gas and notify your car’s computer system, thereby causing the “Check Engine” light to emit.
- Oxygen sensor is failing: The unburned oxygen in the exhaust system is monitored by a sensor. There is a precise fuel mixture that must be stabilized. When the oxygen is unstable, the car might idle at an elevated RPM. If the sensor cannot regulate the fuel mixture, the vehicle will have higher emissions. Oxygen sensors are tough, but they will eventually deteriorate when exposed to the elements, causing the “Check Engine” light to turn on.
- Catalytic converter is worn down: To lessen the effects of pollution on the atmosphere, catalytic converters create an oxidizing reaction. As car technology has progressed, they have become more integrated with an engine’s management system, making them efficient and able to reduce wear. Catalytic converters last an average of ten years. Several factors can lead to the converter wearing down, such as oxygen sensors, worn spark plugs, and structural damage. Also, if antifreeze or fuel leaks into the exhaust system, the catalyst could overheat and melt.
- Vacuum hose might be leaking: To allow smooth combustion in the engine, vacuum hoses release pressure buildup in components. Vacuum hoses are vulnerable to the elements such as dirt, heat, and debris. Broken hoses lead to misfires in the engine and sluggish performance. Most modern cars have a sensor that monitors the hose closely. If a pressure drop appears, a faulty code will be immediately signaled to the car’s computer system. Typically, the hose is worn and can be easily replaced.
If your “Check Engine” light is on, have no fear, Team CAMC is here! We have four locations to serve you – contact us today.
Team CAMC is your Complete Auto Maintenance Center. For over 30 years, we have followed a single guiding principle: we never push or sell services a vehicle doesn’t need. Our team of trained technicians welcomes you like family and discusses all types of oil and fluid changes offered. Critical points are reviewed through a 13-point inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready for the next adventure on the road ahead. Contact us today to schedule the professional service you deserve from a team you trust.
Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.