Have you ever seen the “check engine” indicator light up on your dashboard and wondered what it was trying to tell you? The Check Engine Light can be a sign of a serious problem, but it can also be something that you can quickly fix with little effort and cost.
- 5 Reasons Your Check Engine Light is Flashing
- Dealing With the Check Engine Light
- When to Get Your Car Checked by a Car Service Company
5 Reasons Your Check Engine Light is Flashing
We’ve listed these five common reasons why the “check engine” light comes up to get you started knowing what to do when it happens to you.
Reason #1: Loose Fuel cap
Your car is pretty good at detecting problems. Even something as simple as forgetting to replace the gas cap or loosely replacing it can trigger the “check engine” light. A missing, loose, or broken fuel cap can dramatically reduce fuel efficiency, which causes your car to “warn” you that something is wrong with its engine. Check your fuel cap regularly for tightness and replace it as necessary.
Reason #2: Faulty or Undercharged Battery
A faulty or undercharged battery will cause the check engine light to flash. If this happens while driving, pull over immediately and call an emergency tow truck company (or maybe a friend with a car that can help pull up yours). You might also consider purchasing a new or used one—just make sure they have been appropriately taken care of before going through with it.
Reason #3: Oxygen Sensor Failure
A vehicle’s oxygen sensor problem can cause the check engine light to flash. For this system to work correctly, it must be free from debris and dirt. Replace the air filter periodically or take your car into an auto shop for regular maintenance if you notice that this warning light has come on again during normal driving conditions.
Reason #4: Catalytic converter failure
The catalytic converter breaks down the carbon monoxide and other toxins in your exhaust, so they don’t get into the environment. When the catalytic converter fails, it can make your car feel sluggish and cause air pollution. If your “check engine” light remains on after checking your fuel cap, battery, and air filter, take your car to an auto repair mechanic as soon as practicable. Putting off replacing the catalytic converter puts your health at risk due to prolonged exposure to exhaust gases.
Reason #5: Vacuum Leak
A vacuum leak happens when a certain amount of air bypasses the usual engine intake tract. This abnormal operation can trigger the “check engine” light. Vacuum leaks typically originate from a damaged intake hose or a rupture in one of the several rubber tubes leading into the intake manifold. These components wear out and crack after some time. The best way to find this out is by taking your vehicle into an auto shop or calling in a professional mechanic.
However, if you can locate and fix the problem with simple tools (like pliers), the repair should be easy as long as you know what you’re doing.
Dealing With the Check Engine Light
The check engine light is a warning sign that your car has some problems. It’s not good to ignore this light, as it could lead to further damage or even an accident if the situation worsens. But maybe you’re thinking: “I don’t want to pay for a diagnostic, and my car just needs an oil change anyway, so it’s not worth paying a pro to figure out what the issue is.”
Well, if you are handy with cars and feel comfortable fixing the problem yourself, you may be able to do just that. But as a word of caution, make sure you know what you’re doing before attempting any repairs. Or, you might end up with a far worse problem later that is more costly to rectify.
If you aren’t confident in figuring out what is wrong with your car or don’t have time for DIY auto repair fixes, consider calling a professional mechanic. They will be able to diagnose what exactly caused the check engine light to come on and tell if there are any other issues with your car.
If you decide to have the mechanic come out, ask them if they can write you a repair estimate before they make any repairs to ensure you are aware of the total cost. And, when you get your vehicle back from the repair shop, make sure you take it for a test drive.
When to Get Your Car Checked by a Car Service Company
If left unchecked, a damaged exhaust system will eventually cause your car to break down completely or even backfire from a lack of oxygen, resulting in an explosion-like event within the hood (not good!). If this does happen, you’re looking at expensive repairs and other possible dangerous situations due to failing parts from neglect. So if you hear a rattling noise that persists or find yourself coughing while driving and your exhaust smells like a chimney, get your car checked out.
Having an auto repair mechanic look at your car is your best bet. Auto repair shops often offer free check engine light diagnostic services. They will be able to diagnose what exactly caused the check engine light to come on and tell if there are any other issues with your car. While there won’t be any cost associated with bringing in a mechanic for a diagnosis, there may be charges if he needs to perform actual repairs.
The Check Engine light is a critical warning that your vehicle needs attention. If you continue to drive with the “check engine” light on, your car may be in danger of breaking down. Sometimes all it takes is tightening your fuel cap or replacing your air filter.
But other times, it’s more complicated than that. So, getting your vehicle checked out as soon as possible is always a good idea. The sooner you know the problem, the easier it will be to fix it and return your car to a safe state. Call Z Auto Servicer today and allow us to handle your next car repair in Englewood, CO.