What to Look for When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

June 22, 2018 7:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You’re driving along, listening to the radio, enjoying the breeze from the open window and, out of nowhere, one little light ruins your day. The check engine light has come on. What started out as a carefree day is now stressful. What should you do? Do you need to go home? Head to the nearest radiator shop in Pendleton, OR? Call AAA?

First, don’t panic. This light is designed as a warning mechanism to tell you your car needs attention. So, give it some attention! Take the appropriate steps to determine what is wrong with your vehicle and make the necessary repairs. Start by checking the following:

  • Oxygen sensor: This sensor monitors the amount of fuel your vehicle burns and the unburned oxygen related to the exhaust. If this sensor goes bad, the appropriate data doesn’t make it to your car’s computer, and your gas mileage decreases. It also increases emissions. Most modern vehicles have two to four of these sensors. Over time, they become covered in debris and need to be replaced.
  • Gas cap: If your gas cap becomes loose or cracks, it affects the entire fuel system. Vapors leak out, gas mileage goes down and emissions go up. If your check engine light comes on, try checking your gas cap for cracks and retightening it. This is a simple and inexpensive part to replace, so you can also head to your radiator shop in Pendleton, OR to get a new gas cap.
  • Catalytic converter: This part converts carbon monoxide into harmless materials. If it fails, this conversion process ceases, and harmful exhaust gases are emitted. If this is the cause of your check engine light illuminating, you probably will have noticed poor gas mileage or a lack of speed from your car. When it fails completely, the car will stop running.
  • Mass airflow sensor: This sensor communicates with the car’s computer to tell it how much fuel to add, based on the air that is moving through the engine. If this part fails, your car may stall, your gas mileage will decrease and your emissions will increase. To extend the life of this sensor, replace your air filter annually.
  • Spark plugs: These parts help initiate combustion to start your engine. If they fail, you’ll experience a jolt in acceleration. Some spark plugs are good for up to 100,000 miles, while older parts must be replaced after no more than 30,000 miles. Whether old or new, all spark plugs eventually wear out and must be replaced. When they fail, replace them immediately so your car will run better.

Modern cars are complex machines. A lit check engine light can indicate a variety of things, but these five are some of the most common issues. If you need assistance determining the cause of your check engine light illumination, don’t hesitate to contact your local radiator shop in Pendleton, OR. The team at Western Radiator Inc. offers in-depth experience to help you keep your car running smoothly and safely. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your repairs.

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