Your Check Engine Light Is On: What’s Your Car Trying to Tell You?

Your Check Engine Light Is On: What’s Your Car Trying to Tell You?

It’s impossible to ignore the Check Engine light, but is it always serious? Do you really need to get the car to a mechanic right away? We recommend stopping by our Waite Park automotive repair shop for a quick diagnostic test. Chances are good that your Check Engine light is indicating a problem with one of five car components.

Parts That May Have a Problem

1. Oxygen Sensors

As parts of your car’s emissions control system, these sensors monitor oxygen in the car’s exhaust so that the engine can maximize fuel efficiency. Accumulated ash and oil usually cause sensor failure.

What Happens: Your engine begins to burn more fuel. Oxygen sensor problems damage spark plugs and eventually ruin the catalytic converter.

2. The Catalytic Converter

This emission control device reduces pollutants by converting toxic gases into less-harmful compounds. Faulty oxygen sensors, bad spark plugs, and exhaust valve failure cause converter breakdowns.

What Happens: You notice decreased mileage and increased engine temperatures. A bad catalytic converter also keeps the car from passing emissions tests.

3. Spark Plugs

Spark plugs ignite the air and fuel mix in an engine’s combustion chamber by transmitting an electrical signal from the ignition coil. Overheating, oil contamination, and too many miles take a toll on spark plugs.

What Happens: Bad spark plugs make it harder to start the car. They damage ignition coils, cause the engine to misfire, and put a dent in mileage.

4. The Gas Tank Cap

It does more than keep gas from evaporating. A car’s gas cap also maintains pressure in the fuel tank. If it’s cracked or not tightly replaced, the cap triggers your Check Engine light.

What Happens: Leaking fuel vapors reduce mileage, increase emissions, and throw off your fuel system’s efficiency. You can also end up with contamination in the gas tank.

5. The Engine Thermostat

This small device between the radiator and engine controls coolant flow. A dirty or rusty thermostat doesn’t open and close properly.

What Happens: When the thermostat fails, your car’s computer system can’t sense rising temperatures. Coolants leak around the thermostat housing, and the engine overheats.

Kennedy Transmission Is Ready to Help

The next time your Check Engine light comes on, remember that it’s an early warning sign of a bigger problem. A quick checkup at our Waite Park location can save time, money, and even a breakdown on the road. Whether you need a tune-up or expert automotive repair, our Kennedy Transmission teams are ready to help.

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