It’s a busy weekday morning. You barely get out the door in time, and when you get to the car, start the ignition, and a dashboard warning light comes on- the check engine light.
The check engine light is probably every driver’s most hated warning light. It gives no details about what’s wrong, and the list of potential problems goes on and on, ranging from minor malfunctions to costly problems.
NOTE: If your check engine light comes on and is flashing, this indicates a serious problem and you should get to the nearest auto repair facility immediately.
Top 3 Most Common Causes of the Check Engine Light
- Oxygen Sensor: The oxygen sensors in your car helps determine how much fuel you burn. A defective oxygen sensor effects mileage calculation and leads to a decrease in fuel economy.
While oxygen sensors are a relatively easy and inexpensive part to replace, failing to replace them in time can eventually destroy your catalytic converter. And depending on the car, a catalytic converter is thousands of dollars to replace.
- Gas Cap: It might seem silly that something as small as a gas cap can trigger your warning light, but the gas cap keeps fuel from evaporating, keeping your emissions and gas mileage low.
Check to see if your gas cap is loose before you leave the driveway. Turn off your engine, and replace the gas cap tightly before turning your car back on. It may take a while for the light to go off, even if the gas cap is the culprit. If the light doesn’t go off within the next couple of days, take your car to your mechanic.
- Catalytic Converter: A dying catalytic converter leads to lower gas mileage, and makes it difficult for your engine to accelerate. If you notice any of these problems, take your car to your mechanic as soon as possible to fix it.
Regardless of whether the problem is minor, like a loose gas cap, or major, like a catalytic converter failure, you risk serious damage to your car and the safety of yourself and others on the road when you continue to drive with your check engine light on.
The first thing you should do is bring your vehicle to an experienced, certified mechanic like our team at North County Auto Service. They will be able to diagnose the problem and give you an estimate on how much it will cost you.
If your check engine light, or any other of your dashboard warning lights, has come on and you don’t know why, contact North County Auto Service in Oceanside, CA to figure out the problem and get an estimate of your repair cost. Don’t wait- you save money and lives when you act early!