Check Engine Light ON? Don’t Panic!

If you are unfamiliar with car engines, an illuminated check engine indicator can be a huge worry. Don’t panic! In most cases, it’s not a serious fault or an emergency. It could be something as silly as a loose gas cap or a minor fault like a malfunctioning sensor. The problem can be easily diagnosed and fixed at a good garage.

What Does The Check Engine Indicator Mean?

The check engine indicator is on the dashboard of your car. The design of the indicator varies. Usually, it’s a symbol resembling an engine or the words “SERVICE ENGINE” or something to that effect.

Your car has a computer that monitors vehicle performance through a number of sensors. When a problem that needs investigation is detected, the computer illuminates the check engine indicator. The system is warning you that something is not right. The problem may not be critical, but it needs to be looked at as soon as possible.

What To Do If You Get A Check Engine Warning

If the indicator is stable, it’s not an emergency, but if it is flashing, it could be a critical fault that needs to be looked into right away. Driving with a flashing check engine light may damage the catalytic converter, which is an expensive component to replace. So, stop the car safely and have it towed to the garage.

If the indicator is stable, you can continue driving normally, but take the car to a garage as soon as possible. Although the car is usable, it could be operating inefficiently. Your fuel economy may suffer or the car could be violating emission control norms. It’s not a good thing for your pocket or the environment. Ignoring the problem could result in major damage later resulting in larger repair bills. You will also fail your next MOT test unless the problem is fixed.

Common Issues That Trigger The Check Engine Warning

There are many problems that can cause the check engine light to come on. It could range from minor issues like faulty gas caps to more serious problems. In a majority of cases, it has to do something with the air intake, fuel supply or the exhaust system. Some common issues are given below.

  1. The gas tank cap is faulty or loose. Until it’s fixed, you will lose fuel due to evaporation from your gas tank even when the engine is off.
  2. The oxygen sensor is faulty. If the problem is not corrected, your fuel economy will go down and in due course, it could damage the spark plugs or the catalytic converter.
  3. Mass airflow sensor is faulty. The airflow sensor helps determine the optimum amount of fuel to run the engine efficiently. Prolonged use without fixing the problem could damage other sensors, the spark plugs or the catalytic converter.
  4. Bad spark plugs. Spark plugs provide the spark to ignite the fuel within the engine. If one of them malfunctions, engine performance will be hampered and prolonged operation will also cause damage to other components.
  5. Catalytic converter is faulty. The catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide from the engine exhaust to carbon dioxide. Besides affecting emissions and fuel economy, it could result in the engine operating at higher temperatures. The problem must be fixed without delay because your car could be spewing poisonous carbon monoxide.

Diagnosis And Repairs

At the garage, the first step is to get a rough idea about the problem. The first clue about the problem comes from the data in the car’s computers. The mechanic will connect your car to a diagnostic computer and scan the system for error codes. These codes will help narrow the fault to the system which caused the warning to come up.

A detailed check of the related systems will help identify the fault. After the necessary repairs, your car’s computers will be reset. If everything is right, the warning light should not light up. If the warning stays off after a couple of days of usage, you can be sure that the problem is fixed.

If you have a problem with your car, you need a good garage with the right equipment and knowledge. If you’re looking for car service or repairs in the Manchester area, contact us at one of our garages in Oldham or Bury or complete the short form below. You will get a main dealer equivalent service at lower than main dealer rate.

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