What can cause your check engine light to come on?

The check engine light is one of the most frustrating and confusing factors of owning a vehicle.

It’s just a light with no information telling you what the problem is.

As ambiguous as a “check engine light” may be, your car’s onboard diagnostic system is essential to keeping the engine running efficiently.

Flashing or blinking warning lights or check engine light indicators should be addressed as soon as possible.

Warning lights on the dashboard are simply that, warnings.

Consequently, If one of the lights stays on after you start your car, you could potentially have a problem and should have your vehicle inspected for needed repairs.

The lights may come on when the onboard diagnostics (OBD) system finds a problem in the electronic-control system that it can’t correct.

As a result the computer turns on:

  • A yellow warning indicator that’s labeled “check engine”
  • It could say “service engine soon”
  • Possibly “check powertrain”
  • Or the light may be nothing more than a picture of an engine, known as the International Check Engine Symbol, perhaps with the word “Check.”

In addition to turning on the light, the computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory that identifies the source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine.

The code can be read with an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer. In addition, This is usually standard equipment in auto repair shops.

There are also a number of relatively inexpensive code readers that are designed for do-it-yourselfers.

NOTE: Also, Almost all parts suppliers will read your code for free !

Some common reasons the “Service Engine Soon” light has turned on include:

  • Loose or missing gas cap
  • Spark plugs or wires that are worn out or damaged
  • Electronic control module failure
  • Defective distributor or coil packs
  • Emissions control fault – such as the oxygen sensor
  • Fuel quality issue
Check Engine Light
Check Engine Light

Finally, The top 10 check engine light car repairs:

  1. Replacing oxygen sensor(s)No. 2: Failing catalytic converter(s)
  2. Faulty ignition coil(s) and spark plugs
  3. Loose fuel cap
  4. Replacing thermostat
  5. Faulty ignition coil(s)
  6. Replacing mass air flow sensor
  7. Bad spark plugs and spark plug wires
  8. Malfunctioning evaporative emissions (EVAP) purge control valve
  9. Replacing evaporative emissions (EVAP) purge solenoid

Therefore, If one of the lights stays on after you start your car, you could potentially have a problem and should have your vehicle inspected for needed repairs.

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