What does the Check Engine Light Tell Me?


What does the Check Engine Light Tell Me?The automotive boogeyman comes in the form of a little orange light that appears on your dashboard, unannounced and unwelcomed. It seems to be one of those things that people fear, without really knowing why they do. To be straight, this light is not telling you that your car is doomed for the crusher, it's just letting you know about what is likely a relatively small problem. However, that small problem will get much worse should you choose to ignore the light, as demonstrated by this first example of a check engine light problem.

Failed Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is part of your exhaust system which is tasked with converting hazardous exhaust gases into less harmful emissions. This is one of the most expensive parts on any vehicle. If it suddenly is no longer able to do its job the check engine light will illuminate. However, if it is found that there is a problem with this part is likely means that light was on for some time, triggered by a much smaller problem that was wrongfully ignored, thus resulting in the failure of the catalytic converter. For this reason you should always visit the repair shop for check engine light diagnostics as soon as the light comes on.

Bad Spark Plugs or Wires

The spark plugs are tasked with igniting the air and fuel mixture thus creating the tiny explosion that that powers the pistons. If the spark plugs lose their become dirty or corroded or otherwise cannot properly produce spark it will result in misfiring that will cause the engine to run very rough and greatly reduce fuel economy, thus triggering the light.

Fail Sensors

Your vehicle is chock full of sensors for taking many readings throughout the vehicle. If a sensor can no longer do its job it will often trigger the check engine light. Two of the most frequent sensors that trigger the light are the mass air flow sensor and the oxygen sensor. The MAF sensor measures incoming air flow to calculate the proper air/fuel mixture and the O2 sensor takes oxygen readings in the exhaust that also alter this reading.

Loose or Broken Gas Cap

Perhaps the best you can hope for if your check engine light comes on is a loose or broken gas cap. This is a very simple and inexpensive fix that will have you back on the road in no time. Just make sure you always tighten that cap before leaving the gas station to prevent this from happening.

If you need check engine light diagnostics in Tacoma for your BMW, Mercedes, MIni or other European auto, visit Autobahn Specialists. Our team of European auto repair technicians use the latest technology to ensure that your car is serviced properly the first time. To schedule an appointment for professional European auto repair in Tacoma give us a call at (253) 235-0904!

Autobahn Specialists Inc. Blog

Written and Published By MORBiZ

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