We’ve all been there. That annoying little light pops up on the dashboard halfway through a trip to the grocery store. Some of us will freak out and instantly drive it to the mechanic. Others will ignore it and hope it goes away on its own.
If you’re one of the ones who is curious as to why the check engine light has turned on, we’re here to help. Although you can’t know for sure until an expert has checked under the hood, here are four of the most common reasons for the light to pop up.
- Your Gas Cap is Loose (Or Missing)
The easiest, and cheapest, fix that the light could indicate is your gas cap. Double check that it’s screwed on securely. Or, in some cases, make sure it’s even there. It’s easy to set it on the hood of the trunk while you’re filling up and drive away without replacing it. Thankfully, depending on the make and model of your car, replacing the gas cap can cost you less than $10 at some auto parts stores.
Why replace a missing gas cap? Gas fumes can escape through the opening. This means a slight loss in gas economy and more trips to the pump. All in all, it’s not the end of the world. But you might as well get it taken care of.
- It’s Time to Replace Your Oxygen Sensor
This is the little sensor that tells your car how to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio. If this sensor has a malfunction or breaks down, the ratio will be thrown off and your fuel economy could take up to a 40% reduction. That’s a lot of money missing from your pocket.
Replacing oxygen sensors has been recognized as the most common car repair for years. It’ll run you around the $250 mark, but it’ll pay for itself in the long run.
- The Catalytic Converter Needs Replacing
Probably the pricier end of repairs the check engine light signifies, the catalytic converter is a nuisance. It converts carbon monoxide emissions into carbon dioxide, so that your car is better for the environment. Without this little beauty, your car would fail every emissions test in the book and then some.
The other unfortunate part of a broken catalytic converter is that it usually signals something else wrong with the car. Everything from a misfiring spark plug to faulty piston rings causes damage to the converter. And that means replacing the converter itself will not fix the entire problem. This can be a costly experience, so fingers crossed it’s just the gas cap.
- Your Spark Plugs Are Broken
Spark plugs are what get your vehicle up and running. They ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber to get the pistons moving. If they break, your car may not start the next time you try to turn it on. This is one of the repairs that you can’t choose to ignore or wait a while to replace, but you can do it yourself to save some money.
Whatever reason your light comes on, it’s better to play it safe and find a mechanic quickly. But, if you do ignore it and your car breaks down, remember Tow Truck Henderson to help you. Our friendly techs are here to make your bad day better and your trip safer.
If you found this article’s insights helpful, share it with your friends. You never which one may be disregarding the light themselves. And if you have tips or a story about your check engine light fix, comment below!