Why is Your Engine Light On? Most Common Diagnoses

There are few things more frustrating than seeing the Check Engine light enabled on your car’s dash. This light doesn’t tell you much on its own, but it is a sure sign you’ll need to spend some time and money getting your car fixed. If you can’t tell what’s wrong yourself, you might want to take a moment to look at some of these common diagnoses.

Loose Fuel Cap

Perhaps the cheapest fix out there, a loose fuel cap can actually cause your check engine light to trigger. When your fuel cap isn’t tightened properly, the gas in your tank can evaporate and set off a warning. Fixing this problem can be as simple as tightening the cap and driving for a few miles. While you’re under the hood, be sure to check your oil, the state of your belts, and other regular wear and maintenance.


Bad O2 Sensor

Your car’s oxygen sensor is a particularly problematic car part. It can cease to work correctly for a number of reasons, ranging from bad gas to more serious repairs. The good news is, it’s fairly easy to replace this sensor and having the replacement done at your mechanics isn’t terribly expensive. You’ll want to get your engine checked out if you have this problem, though, as it can be indicative of more extensive issues.


Catalytic Converter

The good news is, your catalytic converter isn’t a part that fails too often. The bad news is, when it does fail it is usually because another part is also in bad shape. If your engine light code pops up with a catalytic converter problem, there’s a good chance you’ll find an issue with your spark plugs or your ignition coil as well.


Ignition Coil Problems

Your car’s ignition coil isn’t a particularly pricey part, but it is one that can fail with age. Getting the part replaced isn’t hard, but it’s something that you will want to identify quickly. Problems with your ignition coil can lead to problems with your catalytic converter, which tend to be much pricier to fix.


Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are among the easier to fix causes of a check engine light, though they can often be hard to diagnose. The root cause of any of a number of problems, they should be replaced as quickly as possible. Replacing these parts is easy enough, but it’s also something that can be done quickly at almost any garage.


If you have a check engine light shining on your dash, be sure to get it checked out as soon as possible. In some cases, the problem might be able to be fixed quickly. In others, quick identification will be the best way to avoid long-term problems and pricey repairs.

Written by Heffe Nootenboom

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