What Does The Check Engine Light Mean

The check engine light is an important indicator to read and acknowledge since it can be triggered for several different reasons. For simple issues that are minor, the light may only come on briefly when starting your vehicle before turning off automatically. This happens because the computer system registers a fault code but does not affect the performance or drivability of the car. More significant issues may trigger the check engine light to remain on after startup, which would indicate that you should have your car serviced by a mechanic immediately. 

Check Engine Light 

What Does The Check Engine Light Mean

Every light on your dash has a specific meaning, and the same goes for the check engine light. In some cases this can be a simple issue that is easily correctable—in other cases, it could be an indicator of a bigger problem. Knowing what each one means can help prevent you from being stranded in bad weather or while travelling far from home. A lot has been on this topic and according to the experts at Land Rover Denver, the most common reason for the check engine light is a faulty oxygen sensor. The check engine light comes on when there is an issue with the vehicle’s computer system while it is being operated. Another reason for a car to trigger a check engine light is a loose gas cap. If your car runs out of fuel and you refill it without replacing the cap securely, this can cause air pressure to build up in the tank or allow fumes from outside to enter the system. Both of these issues can trigger the check engine light to come on as a warning, and you should immediately stop using your vehicle until it is checked out.

The Malfunction Indicator Lamp 

The check engine light, also known as the “Malfunction Indicator Lamp” is a signal from your car’s computer which tells you that somewhere in your vehicle there is a problem. Most of us have experienced the frustration caused by an illuminated check engine light in our cars at one point or another. Sometimes it can mean something simple like tightening your gas cap, but in many cases, it means a more serious issue with your car’s emissions system, OBD II system, or some other powertrain control module. 

Other reasons for the check engine light to come on include an issue with one or more fuel injectors as well as problems with spark plugs and catalytic converters. If there is a low amount of oil in the car’s system, this could also turn the light on. Be sure to take your car to a mechanic any time that you see the check engine light illuminate, regardless of what may be causing it. You should always heed the advice of your car’s warning lights. These lights were placed there for a reason, and they can help prevent major damage to your vehicle if addressed quickly. It is very important that you bring your car in to have it checked out by a professional mechanic or service centre. They will be able to properly diagnose any issues at hand and provide an estimate accordingly before performing any repairs on your vehicle.

Oxygen Sensor Failure (O2S) Fuel System 

The most common and inexpensive problems to repair on a car with a malfunctioning check engine light will be the oxygen sensor and fuel system sensors and components. A poorly running engine, spark plug wires that need replacing, or low oil can cause these issues. These sensors monitor whether or not proper amounts of oxygen are getting into the engine as well as if the air/fuel mixture is at the correct ratio for combustion. If they fail, usually it’s due to age, heat exposure, or lack of maintenance. Sometimes improperly routed vacuum lines will interfere with their ability to function properly. Replacing one or more of these sensors and/or components usually takes less than an hour and could save you hundreds.

Spark Plugs, Plug Wires 

Most engines need four to eight spark plugs and plug wires that connect the plugs to the engine’s coil. If one or more of these components wear out or break, misfires can occur which will cause a check engine light as well as other drivability issues such as poor acceleration and power loss. Replacing all of them is recommended as a preventative measure especially if age isn’t a factor. The average cost for parts and labour runs about $400 depending on your vehicle make and model.

Engine Sensors 

Check engine

Usually, when an engine sensor goes bad, there are other symptoms present as well such as rough idling or lack of maintenance, or lack of power. When these sensors fail they may produce oxygen sensor fault codes and cause the check engine light to turn on. Due to the cost of most sensors, it is best to replace them in pairs. This reduces the odds of needing to repeat this procedure soon after if one fails early due to a lack of maintenance. Replacing all oxygen sensors can cost up to $1,000 or more depending on your car’s make and model which is why they should be replaced in pairs whenever possible.

Ignoring a check engine light can cause significant damage to your car and cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs. Even if the warning light is caused by something minor such as low oil or old spark plugs, it’s still best to get it checked out and deal with the issue sooner than later. Most mechanics will be able to look up what code has been set on your vehicle via an online database which can save time and money. If you’re thinking about driving around with your malfunction indicator lamp on for weeks or months without getting it diagnosed, just remember that there’s a reason for that little orange warning light, and ignoring it could lead to thousands of dollars in damages not covered under warranty.

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