It’s been a long day and you just want to get home. The key hits the ignition, your radio comes alive, and you’re ready to go… until that dreaded sensor lights up your dashboard: Check Engine.
Don’t panic. It doesn’t automatically spell repairs of bank-breaking proportions. There are plenty of reasons your check engine light comes on; here are 5 of the most common:
- You Have a Needy Gas Cap
That little round cap does more than keep your gas (and hard-earned money) from evaporating; it helps maintain pressure in your fuel tank, seals your fuel system, and keeps those fumes safely away from other drivers and pedestrians. If yours is damaged, missing or loose, the check engine light is your friendly reminder to address the problem ASAP. While driving without a secured gas cap may not necessarily harm your car, it’s a surefire way to ensure extra trips to the pump and a lighter wallet over time.
- Your Plugs Have Lost Their Spark
Spark plugs and spark plug wires need replacing every now and then. If you neglect them, there will be a lot more than just love lost between you: your car will suffer from poor performance and reduced power and fuel economy, among other things. Worn plugs and wires can also clog your catalytic converter and wreak havoc in a number of other areas.
- Speaking of Catalytic Converters…
That pesky check engine light might be signaling that your catalytic converter needs to be replaced. Since its job includes converting carbon monoxide into the much more environmentally-friendly carbon dioxide, it’s a good idea to spring for a new one. Skip this bit of maintenance and you could be setting your vehicle up for failure—as in it won’t pass an emissions test or perform as well as it should on the road.
- Could Be Your Oxygen Sensor
If your oxygen (O2) sensor isn’t working properly, investing in a replacement is definitely the way to go. Since it measures the unburned oxygen in your car’s exhaust system, a faulty sensor can cause continued damage to your catalytic converter and spark plugs. Plus, no one wants to watch their engine unnecessarily burning fuel.
- Your Mass Airflow Sensor Needs You
Do you know what determines how much fuel your engine needs to run properly? Your mass airflow sensor. So when it stops working, it cries out for attention through the check engine light. This is another sensor that, when not replaced, can prove harmful to the rest of your vehicle, reduce fuel economy, and drop your car to subpar performance.
With most of these common issues being resolved by a simple part replacement or the tightening of a cap, it’s just another example of why regular vehicle maintenance is so important to the health of your car. But it’s true that even minor repairs can add up when you’re paying someone else… so why not cut out the middle man?
If you have a knack for fixing things and enjoy working with your hands, J-Tech can help you put that natural talent to work in a rewarding career. Our Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology programs provide hands-on training for maintenance and repair, preparing our grads for a bright future in the automotive industry. For more information on J-Tech and our programs, call us at (877) 447-0442 today.