Fort Collins Auto Repair

5 Reasons Your Check Engine Light Is On

If you're on a road trip and the check engine light comes on, it grabs your attention immediately. Dashboard lights have been implemented for a while. Today, modern vehicles have a sophisticated system that can give plenty of information about your vehicle's health. The indicator lights on your dashboard can tell you if your tire pressure is low or your engine runs too hot. However, the check engine light can be more of a mystery. Is it a significant problem that needs professional attention or a minor issue that can be corrected right away? If you know the possible meanings, you'll be less likely to feel a sense of panic. Below are seven of the most common reasons your check engine may come on. 

The gas cap is loose. 

Have you just recently left the gas station? If you just filled your tank, make sure your gas cap is completely secured. A gas cap that is loose or damaged may be the reason the check engine light is on. The gas cap prevents the fuel from evaporating and ensures an adequate amount of pressure stays inside your gas tank. If you need to replace your gas cap, don't worry. Gas caps are relatively inexpensive and a quick fix. 

A dirty oxygen sensor. 

Your vehicle's oxygen sensor monitors the amount of unburned oxygen released from the exhaust. The oxygen sensor allows your vehicle to monitor fuel consumption. Over time, the oxygen sensor can become caked with combustion elements such as oil ash, sulfur, and fuel additives. These contaminants can cause the oxygen sensor to perform inadequately, leading to a check engine light. 

Your vehicle is overheating. 

If your car is overheating, you may notice additional signs outside of the check engine light. If your temperature gauge is in the red and there's smoking coming from under the hood, you should pull your vehicle over because it's running too hot. The check engine light will come on to alert you to seek immediate attention. While your car is pulled over, turn on the heater to help the engine release heat and call for roadside assistance. 

The spark plugs are bad. 

The spark plugs provide the essential spark needed to ignite the combustion. If the spark plugs are dirty or damaged, they may need to be replaced. Spark plugs that are compromised can decrease engine performance and can even cause a misfire. 

The catalytic converter is damaged. 

The catalytic convertor works to limit the amount of harmful emissions your vehicle releases. It converts dangerous pollutants such as carbon monoxide and turns it into carbon dioxide. If the catalytic converter is damaged, there are usually other issues at play, such as broken spark plugs and dirty oxygen sensors. A damaged catalytic converter can decrease fuel economy and lead to overheating. 

Check Engine Light Diagnosis in Fort Collins, CO 

Don't let your check engine light take you by surprise; use this list to stay informed. If you notice any of the above signs, don't hesitate to bring your vehicle to ASR Automotive Service and Repair. If you need assistance, we are currently offering our customers a free check engine light scan to help get to the bottom of the issue. Click here for more information

Or feel free to give us a call at 970-294-7768 Mon-Fri 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. 


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