Beginner Info

Why My Check Engine Light Comes on?

For people who are unaware of what is check engine light, you’ve landed in the right place. A check engine light is a malfunction indicator lamp and consists of a computerized engine-management system. This system sends out an indication if there is any malfunction.

Why my check engine light comes on? A broken or loose gas cap, Lousy spark plugs & wires, Oxygen sensors, Mass airflow or MAF sensor, & Failure of the catalytic converter are common reasons behind a check engine light indication.

When the check engine light comes on, it illuminates your dashboard. The sinking feeling that you get can be scary.

Why my check engine light comes on
Why my check engine light comes on?

Why my check engine light comes on?

There are several reasons why the check engine light comes on. But today, in this article, we will be covering the most common reasons behind this malfunction. Let us take a look:

A broken or loose gas cap

Broken, missing, or a loose gas cap are some of the most common reasons behind the check engine light. The gas caps are nothing but used to seal the fuel system of the car.

If the gas cap is damaged or not sealed properly, the chances are that you end up losing fuel through evaporation. Hence, it is advisable to tighten or replace the gas cap as soon as possible.

Lousy spark plugs & wires

The duo of spark plugs and wires are used to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Once the fuel is ignited, it transfers the spark to the plugs through a combustion chamber.

If there are any lousy spark components, then the chances are that your check engine light can come on. It results in low fuel and performance. Immediately replace them.

Oxygen sensors

The light also comes on if the oxygen sensors are not working correctly. The oxygen sensors in a car can track the amount of unburned oxygen in the fuel system.

If the sensor is not fixed, it might lead to the catalytic converter’s damage and produce potential sparks.

MAF or Mass airflow sensor

The other reason behind it could be the MAF sensor or the Mass airflow sensor. This sensor detects the amount of fuel required to run the engine economically. It also traces the amount of air entering the engine.

Failure of the catalytic converter

If the catalytic converter fails, then it could be a possible chance that your check light will come on. Every car has a catalytic converter that transforms/converts the carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. If the converter is not working correctly, it might lead to poor engine performance.

How to fix if the check engine light comes on?

Prevention is better than cure. It is essential for every individual who drives a car to know what to do if the check engine light comes on. People often end up panicking. But panic is not a solution.

Here are a few steps to fix the check engine light:

  • This OBD reader is a required tool that can be bought from Amazon. The check engine light tends to come on whenever your car’s automotive system sends out the wrong input. Plugin the OBD reader, and it will record the codes.
  • The next step is to scan the codes as it will be displayed in the OBD reader. Do not worry. The codes are some generic diagnostic codes and not model-specific.
  • Now it’s time to search your code.
  • Once the code is suspected, you can locate the part and finally remove and replace it.

In the end, do not forget to erase the code from the OBD reader.

Is it possible that the check engine light turns off itself?

Once you fix your part/condition, the check engine light will automatically shut itself off. For example, sometimes, due to a lot of stop-and-go driving, the check engine light comes on. In such scenarios, put less demand on the converter, and the issue will get resolved.

But in these scenarios, it is always recommendable to take your car to a mechanic and have him check your car’s oxygen sensor or replace the converter.

Is it safe to drive the car with the check engine light on?

The question that comes to mind is that is it safe to drive the car with the check engine light on? Well, you can determine the answer to this question in 3 steps.

  • Firstly, check your gas cap. After refueling, do not forget to tighten your gas cap in place. If the light turns off after that, then it is safe to drive.
  • Secondly, try reducing the speed and load. High speed can heat the engine. Try to avoid speed surges and unload heavy equipment, if any, as soon as possible to turn off the check light.
  • Check if your dashboard indicates any overheating issues or low oil pressure. Shut off the engine immediately, and you will notice the lights going off.

Even if the check engine light doesn’t come off after doing the necessary checks, visit your nearest automobile repair shop.

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