Reasons Your Check Engine Light May Be On
A blinking or solid check engine light CEL (check engine light) on your dashboard can be annoying and worrisome. And, depending on the make and model of your car, the light can be red, yellow, or orange. The good news is that most of the time, the CEL is not an indication of a major problem. Here are four potential reasons your CEL may be on.
You Have a Loose or Damaged Gas Cap
One of the most common reasons a CEL comes on is because the gas cap is loose or damaged. If your gas cap is not snugly fastened, it will trigger the CEL. Make sure to tighten it until you hear it click. You should also check the gas cap for cracks or wear and tear. If the gas cap is damaged, you will need to replace it to prevent your CEL from coming back on.
Your O2 Sensor Needs to Be Replaced
Another common reason for a CEL is a faulty oxygen (O2) sensor. The O2 sensor monitors the air-fuel mixture in your car’s engine to make sure it’s burning cleanly. If it senses that the mixture is too rich or too lean, it will trigger the CEL. O2 sensors usually need to be replaced every 60,000 miles or so.
You Have a Catalytic Converter Problem
The catalytic converter helps reduce emissions from your car’s engine by converting harmful pollutants into less harmful ones before they are released into the atmosphere through the exhaust system. If there is something wrong with the converter, it will trigger a CEL. Catalytic converter problems are usually caused by another issue such as a fuel mixture that is too rich or too lean, so it’s important to have your car’s computer scanned for codes to determine the root cause of the problem.
Your EVAP System Has a Leak
The EVAP system controls fuel vapors in order to prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere where they can contribute to air pollution. If there is a problem with the EVAP system, it will often trigger a small leak indicator light as well as the CEL—so if you see both lights on, you know what’s going on. There are many possible causes of an EVAP system leak including a loose gas cap, a cracked hose, or a damaged charcoal canister—so again, it’s important to have your car’s computer scanned for codes so you can accurately diagnose and fix the problem.
As you can see, there are many potential causes of a check engine light—some more serious than others. However, most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about and can be easily fixed with a simple repair such as tightening or replacing a loose gas cap. If you are concerned about your CEL, bring your car into Absolute Car Care in Montclair for a diagnostic test so we can quickly and easily determine what’s causing your light to come on and get you back on the road again in no time!