You’re driving down the street when your car makes a rare ding sound. Investigating the source makes your stomach sink into a feeling of dread as you notice the “Check Engine” light is brightly illuminating. The light could be an indication that there is a serious and often costly problem, like a bad catalytic converter, on the other hand it could be alerting you of something minor, like a loose gas cap. In any case, you will likely need to make a visit to the dealership or your favorite mechanic. Unless your car starts smoking or completely stalls, you can visit an auto parts store and have them run a diagnostic to find the cause of the check engine light. Generally, there are a few more common issues that have lead to your engine light causing you stress; we at Citywide Towing would like to list those frequent problems.
What Would Make a Check Engine Light Go On & Off or Start Flashing?
1) Catalytic Convertor
The catalytic convertor is designed to reduce exhaust gases. Carbon monoxide and other potential harmful materials are converted into harmless compounds. A noticeable decrease in gas mileage and/or the vehicle won’t go any faster when you push the gas are indications the catalytic convertor is failing and causing the check engine light to shine. What you should do: With the gas mileage being offensive and the eventual inability to keep the car running if the catalytic converter fails, you will need it replaced by a professional.
2) Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow sensor informs the vehicle’s computer system to make the proper additions of the amount of fuel based on the air coming through to the engine. An increase emission; which causes the automobile to stall, and decrease gas mileage is the result of a faulty mass airflow sensor. What you should do: In theory, you can drive up to a few months with a broken MAF sensor. Over time the decrease in gas mileage will be more obvious, eventually resulting in frequent stall-outs. The part can be pricey, but the job itself is relatively simple and some mechanically savvy people can take on the project themselves, but a professional can got the job done far quicker.
3) Spark Plugs & Wires
The spark plug serves in multiple uses; it provides gab for a spark to jump across and initiate combustion in your engine as well as seals the combustion chamber. Failing spark plugs causes misfire; resulting in a little jolt in your car’s acceleration. What you should do: Faulty spark plugs should be replaced as quickly as possible. An easy and inexpensive fix, your car will operate more efficiently. They are generally accessible and finding instructions to do this yourself is fairly simple, but if you are not comfortable under the hood, a professional can get it done fairly quickly.
4) Oxygen Sensor
An oxygen sensor help monitor the quantity of burned fuel as it is the part that monitors the unburned oxygen from the exhaust. The correct data is not being sent to the computer, causing a decrease in gas mileage when the oxygen sensor is faulty. Typically, cars have 2-4 oxygen sensors and the code readout from scanner will tell indicate the one that needs replacing. What you should do: Replacing oxygen sensor needs to be done immediately as it will lead to a busted catalytic convertor. However, an oxygen sensor is easy to replace on many models of vehicles and consulting the manual can guide you through the process. A mechanic can get the job quickly as well, just be sure you do not let time slip by.
5) Loose or Faulty Gas Cap
A loose or cracked gas cap allows the fuel vapors leak out; negatively impacting the fuel system off. Reduced gas mileage and increases emissions are the major side effects. What you should do: Make sure the gas cap is tight and assess the condition. If the cap will not screw on tightly or shows any signs of damage, get a replacement at your nearest auto store.
Towing & Roadside Assistance in Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Arlington, Irving, Mesquite & Greater Dallas, Texas
If the engine light was brightened due to a problem that causes your vehicle to become inoperable, Citywide Towing is readily available to come to your aid and help you get your vehicle towed to your trusted mechanic. Contact us whenever your or a loved one need towing or emergency roadside assistance.