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4 Things To Inspect If Your Check Engine Light Comes On

June 26, 2020

4 Things To Inspect If Your Check Engine Light Comes On

If your check engine light comes on while you are driving, it’s important to not ignore that light but instead contact your trusted auto repair shop to figure out what is causing the light to illuminate.
Your vehicle’s computer triggers the check engine light if it has found a problem with the vehicle’s operation. The check engine light can either come on and stay lit or blink, depending on the type of problem.
Typically, when a check engine light flashes rapidly, it indicates a power loss in the vehicle or something even more urgent. When the check engine light comes on and stays on, it is usually a less serious problem. 
In this blog we will explain what to watch for if your check engine light comes on, plus the most common reasons your check engine light might be on.

Here Are 4 Things To Watch For If Your Check Engine Light Comes On:

1) Check your gauges – Look for an indication of low oil pressure or that your vehicle is overheating. If either of these issues are present, turn your vehicle off to prevent any further damage.

an image of fuel gauge

2) Inspect the condition of the battery and charging system – If you lose power from the battery, your vehicle will die.

an image of battery warning light

3) Check the fan and alternator, along with the serpentine belt – All of these items are critical to the charging system of your vehicle. Belts should always be inspected during routine oil changes, and are always performed during service at ABS Unlimited.

 Check all cables to ensure proper connections are maintained – Make sure there is a connection and free of corrosion or signs of wear.

Perhaps there’s nothing to panic about? If your gas cap is loose, this will also trigger your check engine light to illuminate. If you recently got gas, tighten the gas cap. If the check engine light does not go off immediately, try turning the vehicle off, tightening the gas cap again, then turning the vehicle back on. Sometimes it requires more than one try to reset the sensor.

an image showing loose gas cap

4 Other Reasons Your Check Engine Light Might Be On:

an image of oxygen sensor

1) The Oxygen Sensor needs to be replaced –  This part measures the amount of unburned oxygen in your vehicle’s exhaust system. 

  • Issues this could cause: Your engine will burn more fuel than needed, causing poor fuel economy and less miles to the gallon.
an image of catalytic converter

2) The Catalytic Converter is faulty – Your vehicle’s catalytic converter protects the environment by converting harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.

Issues this could cause:

  • Your vehicle will not pass the Virginia State Emissions Inspection.
  • Reduced performance and fuel economy.
  • Your vehicle could run at a higher temperature.
an image of mass airflow sensor

3) The Mass Airflow Sensor needs to be replaced – The Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) measures the amount of air entering the engine to determine how much fuel is needed to run your engine efficiently.

Issues this could cause:

  • Faulty sensors can cause damage to spark plugs, O2 sensors or catalytic converter.
  • Reduced performance and fuel economy.
a person holding a spark plug

4) The Spark Plugs or Wires needs to be replaced – Your vehicle’s spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your vehicle. The spark plug wires deliver the spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs.

Issues this could cause:

  • Poor performance (reduced power, engine missing) and reduced fuel economy.
  • Worn plugs and plug wires can cause clogged catalytic converter or damage to ignition coils and O2 sensors.

In summary, when your vehicle’s check engine light comes on, the vehicle should be inspected sooner rather than later to avoid more costly damage to the engine or breaking down on the side of the road.
If your check engine light is on and you don’t have a trusted mechanic, please call the team at ABS Unlimited at (703) 352-7770 to schedule a check engine light inspection. We are here to help!