Your Car’s Check Engine Light

check-engine-light-150x150All new cars come standard with a computer that monitors the various functions that are necessary to operate your vehicle. When this computer detects an issue a significant reduction in efficiency, it illuminates the dashboard warning light that corresponds to the issue your car, truck or SUV is experiencing.

These lights are less of a warning system and more of an alert that something has already gone wrong, which means that once one of these lights comes on, you need to take your car to be serviced by a professional. If you own an engine diagnostic computer, you can perform a quick test to learn more about your issue before taking your car to the shop.

An engine diagnostic is performed by connecting the diagnostic computer to your car’s main computer. The diagnostic computer reads the coding from your vehicle’s computer and reports any errors in the form of a numeric code that corresponds to a specific issue. Match the code and issue to determine where to begin making your repairs.

While there are many reasons that your car’s check engine light might turn on, some issues occur more frequently and are more easily remedied than others. Below, is a short list of several of the most common and easily resolved causes of an illuminated check engine light.

  • Loose Gas Cap: Leaving your gas cap unattached will cause your check engine light to turn on. Simply close the cap to turn off the light.
  • Broken Oxygen Sensor: Without the proper amounts of oxygen flowing to and through your engine, your engine will run inefficiently causing the check engine light to illuminate.
  • Worn Spark Plugs/Wiring: Over time, spark plugs and wires wear out. You will need to periodically replace your spark plugs and wires to keep your car running smoothly.