Unexpected Causes of Your Check Engine Light

Unexpected Causes of Your Check Engine Light

We’ve all experienced it: you get into your car to leave for work, and the check engine light comes on. A red, orange, or yellow light frequently accompanies an episode of worry, anxiety, or impatience.

What Exactly Is a Check Engine Light?

The check engine light, also known as the malfunction indicator bulb, is a notification from your vehicle’s engine computer that something is amiss. It’s your car’s method of alerting you to any problems while it’s operating.

What Does the Check Engine Light Indicate?

Your engine control unit controls the operation of your engine and other associated components to ensure that your vehicle meets particular emission standards.

When this computer collects data that is not normal, it stores a specific fault code that corresponds to the problem. The check engine light illuminates to notify the driver that this has occurred. In most cars, an illuminated check engine light suggests that something should be done right away because the condition could be harmful, but a steady light indicates that an issue should be checked shortly.

What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

There are few things more terrifying and unpleasant than seeing your car’s check engine light on. Many drivers have been perplexed since the introduction of check engine lights in 1996. This is owing to the vast range of problems that the light could be suggesting.

Unfortunately, driving about hoping and praying for the light to turn off will not help you or your vehicle. If your check engine light has recently illuminated, your car could be experiencing one of two types of issues.

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Fuel System Issues

Unexpected Causes of Your Check Engine Light

Faulty gas cap – Your car is pretty adept at alerting you to potential problems. Something as simple as failing to replace the gas cap could set off your “check engine” light. This is due to the gas cap preventing vapors from escaping the fuel tank. A faulty gas cap can significantly impair fuel efficiency and increase pollutants.

MAF sensor – Mass airflow sensors are a typical component failure in cars. A MAF sensor is located near the engine and measures the amount of oxygen and gasoline that is introduced into the engine. The engine requires a particular amount of oxygen to run efficiently and safely. When the MAF sensor fails, your vehicle no longer reads these critical values. This is an easy remedy that simply necessitates a fast replacement.

Faulty ignition – As the fuel travels through the engine’s cylinders, spark plugs ignite it. Failure to replace a spark plug may result in catalytic converter failure or other catastrophic issues.

Exhaust Problems

Catalytic converter – The catalytic converter decreases the toxicity of your car’s hazardous gases. If your catalytic converter fails, you and the environment will be exposed to deadly quantities of carbon monoxide and other pollutants.

O2 sensor – A precise balance of chemical gases is required throughout the combustion process. The O2 sensor monitors these gases in real time to ensure that the right quantity of oxygen is present. The car cannot work correctly if the O2 sensor fails. This has a significant impact on fuel efficiency and may result in thousands of dollars in damage. Replacing your O2 sensor as soon as you identify a problem will save you time and money on repairs that are unnecessary.

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