It’s a light that none of us want to see. You get into your car, ready to start your day, and the check engine light goes on. Despite any inclination you may have to ignore it, we can tell you from experience that it’s better to bring your car in for maintenance sooner than later.
However, before you adjust your schedule and make time to get things checked out, there is one easy thing you can do. Get out of the car and walk over to your gas tank. Is the gap missing? Is there a crack in it? If nothing appears wrong, give the cap a couple of turns to ensure it’s on tight. A 2014 study by CarMD found that a lose, damaged, or missing gas cap accounted for 5.4% of check engine light repairs.
If this gas cap trick fix doesn’t help, then it’s time to head in to have things examined. A check engine light can often be caused by something minor or sometimes more serious. However, the longer you wait, the worse the issue can get, including potentially more expensive to fix. The list of possible causes is lengthy, but the top culprits seem to be:
- Spark Plugs & Wires – Eventually, all spark plugs and wires will need replacement. Luckily, this is an easy and cheap fix.
- Oxygen Sensor – Not replacing a broken oxygen sensor could reduce your gas mileage and increase your emissions. It could also cause expensive damage to your catalytic convertor.
- Mass Air Flow Sensor – This sensor is how the computer knows to add the right amount of fuel, based on the air coming through, to the engine. When neglected, a broken Mass Air Flow Sensor will decrease your gas mileage and, over time, cause your vehicle to start stalling.
- Catalytic Convertor – This component of your vehicle converts harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. When a faulty convertor goes unchecked, your car could start running at a higher temperature and will eventually stop running.
There are a multitude of reasons a check engine light appears on your dashboard. However the above four, plus a broken or loose gas cap, are the top five reasons for the check engine light. Get your vehicle in as soon as possible if you see this light and you’ll avoid bigger problems down the road.
Jiffy Lube of Indiana is here to help you ward off many of the problems that can cause a check engine light. Our Signature Service Oil Change provides the preventative maintenance your vehicle needs to stay on the road.