4 Common Reasons Why Your Check Engine Light Came On

Posted May 15, 2024

All vehicles require maintenance and repairs to stay in good running condition. An internal combustion engine has thousands of moving parts that eventually wear out. According to Profound Answers, nearly 70 million vehicles break down annually in the United States. Many of those vehicles have their engine warning lights illuminated, but some owners ignore them. Here are four common reasons why the check engine light might appear on your dash.

1. Loose Gas Cap

One of the most common issues is a very simple one that costs nothing to fix. When you put gas into your car, the gas cap likely clicks when you tighten it enough. Those clicks help tell you the cap is on and sealed to the filler tube, which enables the fuel pump to work as intended. When the cap is loose, the fuel pump works harder. The rule of thumb is you turn the gas cap until you hear at least three clicks to know it’s on tight.

2. Fouled Spark Plugs and Coils

All gasoline-fueled internal combustion engines have spark plugs that cause the gas to ignite in the combustion chamber. When the spark plugs and either the coils or wires that give them the power to repeatedly spark go bad, the engine runs poorly. Replacing the spark plugs and the coils or spark plug wires on your car can cure the problem. So could replacing a dirty air filter that might restrict how much oxygen is getting to the combustion chamber.

3. Bad Oxygen Sensor

Another common reason the check engine light appears is a bad oxygen sensor, which tells how much unburned oxygen is in the exhaust manifold. If there’s too much oxygen, the engine could run lean and overheat. If there’s not enough oxygen, the engine is running rich and wasting fuel. Both conditions foul the spark plug and make the motor less efficient. Replacing an oxygen sensor is a simple and affordable service that might not require you to exit your vehicle.

4. Exhaust System Problems

A bad exhaust affects the engine and could trigger a warning light on your dash. You might have a worn-out or damaged muffler or exhaust pipe that needs to be replaced. It’s also possible someone might cut the catalytic converter from your exhaust due to the value of the rare metals it contains. Any exhaust problems decrease engine performance and could trigger the check engine light.

When you have a warning light on your dash, you can visit our automotive facility, so our technicians can diagnose and fix the problem. Contact our team today at Chase Automotive Repair for more information!

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