Common Check Engine Light Problems

So, you’re driving along and everything seems fine when all of a sudden your car beeps and a funky symbol shows up on the dashboard. Sometimes it looks like a strange box, while sometimes it’s also accompanied with “CEL,” or “Check Engine.” The obvious, of course, is that your car is letting you know there is something going on under the hood.  The check engine light symbol will be alerted for a variety of reasons, but we have compiled together the 5 most common check engine light issues people have to get repaired.

Oxygen Sensor

Your oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in your vehicle’s exhaust system. When you have a bad oxygen sensor, your vehicle will run less efficiently, it can sometimes have a poor idle, erratic jerking at steady throttle, hard starting problems, and will cause high fuel consumption. This can end up being a very costly repair as well if it needs to be done. If you do not repair your oxygen sensor, your engine may burn more fuel than needed. Also, faulty sensors can cause damage to spark plugs, catalytic converters, and damage your fuel economy.

Damaged or Loose Gas Cap

Your gas cap seals the fuel system and helps maintain pressure within the fuel tank. It also prevents gasoline fumes (hydrocarbons) from being released into the atmosphere while you aren’t driving your car. If you don’t repair your gas cap when the check engine light notifies an issue with it, you are likely to experience poor fuel economy and have to fill up your tank more often than usual.

Catalytic Converter

The Catalytic Converter was introduced to the car in the United States in 1975 to meet EPA regulations. This piece of your vehicle changes harmful toxins within exhaust fumes to less harmful toxins in order to protect the environment better. Replacing your catalytic converter can be a very costly repair due to the precious metals that are used within the converters to make the changes possible to exhaust. The bright side is, however, it is not a safety issue for driving to get your catalytic converter fixed.

Mass Airflow Sensor

Your mass airflow sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine to determine how much fuel is needed to run your engine efficiently. When your mass airflow sensor starts to fail, there are a few telltale signs. The engine can be very hard to start or turn over, and it can also stall shortly after being started. When in idle, the engine may also hesitate or drag under load. There can also be hesitation or jerking when trying to accelerate. You will experience reduced performance overall and poor fuel economy.  If the mass airflow sensor is not repaired, it can also cause damage to spark plugs, oxygen sensors, and even damage to the catalytic converter.

Spark Plugs or Plug Wires

Your 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. There are a few symptoms to be aware of when the spark plugs are failing.  The engine may misfire, it could bring about poor fuel economy, your car may be sluggish to accelerate, when your car is in idle it may sound rough or jittery, and you may have trouble starting your car. Worn spark plugs or spark wires may cause damage to other parts of your car such as the catalytic converter, ignition coils, or the oxygen sensor.  Overall, this is a pretty moderate repair expense.

Written by GT Service Center