There are few car service issues that cause more hysteria than the “check engine” light. Sometimes, the issue is very minor and easy to fix, but there are also times when the hysteria is well warranted. Here is why the “check engine” turns on—and why you need to get your car to us quickly for car service in Basalt, CO when you see it:
- Loose fuel cap: The “check engine” light is sensitive to air leaks, and those can be traced to the fuel cap. Fuel caps seal the gas tank and keep fumes inside. When they get loose, that activates the “check engine” light. Fortunately, this usually happens when you hurried too much while filling up, and now, you need to tighten the cap. If that was the cause, the “check engine” light should turn off after three driving cycles. However, it is also possible that your fuel cap is wearing out. If your “check engine” light still does not turn off, buy a new fuel cap. When your “check engine” light remains on even after taking these steps, call for a repair appointment as soon as possible.
- O2 sensor malfunction: The oxygen sensor (or O2 sensor) is located on your exhaust system. It measures the amount of unburned oxygen in your exhaust, which helps your engine computer determine performance. When it stops working, it will send a warning to the “check engine” chip so it can signal it is time for replacement. Ignoring this problem will reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 40 percent and risk damaging spark plugs and the catalytic converter.
- Problems with the mass airflow sensor (MAF): The MAF works in your engine to collect data on airflow. It uses that information to determine the amount of fuel to send to your engine. When it malfunctions, there is no airflow control. That can damage spark plugs, the O2 sensor and the catalytic converter. If your engine feels rough and your “check engine” light turns on, it is most likely the MAF. Be sure to call us for an appointment soon!
- Need new spark plugs or wires: When your spark plugs or wires get old, they start misfiring. That causes your combustion chamber to fire poorly. This will slow everything down and also affect your catalytic converter. If you notice decreased fuel economy and a slow ignition sequence, it is likely time to replace your spark plugs and wires.
- Time for a new catalytic converter: The catalytic converter converts dangerous carbon monoxide to harmless carbon dioxide. If it no longer performs this function, you will fail emissions tests and find your “check engine” light activated. Your vehicle will also run hot and suffer reduced performance, along with contributing to poor air quality. Your failing catalytic converter will start a domino effect where other systems will incur damage as you drive. This is not an inexpensive part, but ignoring it can produce bad consequences and additional expense.
When your “check engine” light threatens your piece of mind, visit Basalt Quick Lube & Tire for car service in Basalt, CO. We offer monthly specials and will get you in quickly to get to the bottom of your mechanical problems.