RED ALERT! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRONG WHEN YOUR CHECK ENGINE LIGHT COMES ON?
For all the Chicken Littles in the world, the check engine light coming on is the equivalent to “The Sky is Falling!!” It brings on a sense of dread that is kind of like the IRS calling and saying, “You’re being audited.” Well, fortunately, we’re not the IRS and we can help you get through this horrific time in you and your vehicle’s lives.
When cars are run by computers as they are today, they are a myriad of sensors that feed information to the computer to make your car run the most efficiently. When one of those sensors goes bad, it will trigger your light to come on or what we call, “throw a code.” When your computer throws a code, it takes a skilled technician to diagnose what actually caused that code to rear up.
We charge a fee for that. We hear people say, “Well I can find out what’s wrong for free at the auto parts store.” That means that you are letting some counterman plug his “code reader” into your car and telling you, “Yep, your #7 cylinder is mis-firing.” Well, then what? We can tell you WHY that cylinder is mis-firing and fix the problem.
There are a few common problems that will make your check engine light come on. One of the more common problems is that your oxygen sensor has gone bad. The O2 sensor measures oxygen in your vehicle’s exhaust and helps regulate how much fuel the engine needs to operate. If that sensor is bad, it will make the car use more fuel than you need, and you’ll pay for the accompanying gas. Plus, if your engine is dumping more fuel into the exhaust, it will make your catalytic converter go bad, which could cost you up to another $2,000 to replace.
Another common problem is that your gas cap is either off or loose. This will cause your fuel tank to lose vacuum and make your fuel pump work hard to deliver fuel to the engine.
Also, the mass air flow sensor commonly goes bad from dust building up on it. You can prevent that by regularly changing your air filter. That’s about $20 compared to $400 for a mass air flow sensor.
Also, have your spark plugs checked for fouling. If your engine is burning oil, one or more of your plugs may become fouled with gunk. That could cause a misfire and that will definitely “throw a code.”
So when that scary light pops up, bring it on into us. We are experts at translating codes, like computer geeks. Take it 2 the House!