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Check Engine Lights: Your Car’s Passive Aggressive Way of Saying, “We Need To Talk”

Check Engine Lights: Your Car’s Passive Aggressive Way of Saying, “We Need To Talk”

Thursday, November 30, 2023

CarBuyerUSA - Check Engine Lights

We’ve all been there, if you’ve owned your vehicle long enough. Maybe even a newer car has had the dreaded check engine light pop on, and this one little light brings the deepest and heaviest sigh from every owner. Join us for a multi part series on this subject.

The check engine light can seem like a warning beacon when it comes on, blinding you with the dollar signs it may cost to make the repairs. The malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) or service engine soon (SES) light comes on when the onboard diagnostics system (OBD-II) has detected a potential issue with the vehicle’s engine, transmission, or emissions system. The top ten reasons for light illumination are as follows:

  1. Loose or faulty gas cap can lead to fuel vapors escaping to cause the light to be triggered.
  2. Oxygen Sensors (02 Sensors) measure the amount of oxygen in the exhaust and a malfunction can affect fuel efficiency and emissions.
  3. Catalytic Converter issues such as a failure or inefficiency.
  4. Mass Airflow Sensors measure the amount of air entering the engine. Issues with this sensor can impact fuel injection and engine performance.
  5. Ignition Coils that are faulty or spark plugs can lead to engine misfires.
  6. Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) can include a faulty vent valve or purge valve, can lead to vapor leaks.
  7. Thermostat malfunction can lead to engine overheating.
  8. Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System can be another malfunctioning valve which will impact engine performance.
  9. Cylinder misfires can be caused by faulty spark plugs, fuel injectors or compression problems
  10. Transmission issues such as slipping or sensor issues.

It is so important to know that the check engine light can indicate a wide variety of issues and the specific cause should be diagnosed by a qualified mechanic or diagnostic technician to retrieve the error codes from your vehicle's computer system. Just because AutoZone, O’Reilly or Napa Auto Parts have said, it’s just a simple loose gas cap code, always get a second or third report to be positive. Addressing the underlying causes promptly can help prevent further damages and maintain your vehicles optimal performance level.

Check back for part two! We’ve only just begun with the light NO ONE wants to see at Christmas!

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