There are a handful of different lights on your dashboard that can turn on at any time—but none makes a driver as nervous as the check engine light. Even if you don’t have any car knowledge, you most likely know that the engine is an important part of the car, so any light that signifies an issue with the engine is troublesome. So, what does this light actually mean? According to the Denver auto repair experts at Mancinelli’s Auto Repair, these are some of the reasons why this light may turn on:
Have you recently stopped for gas? If your check engine light is on, it could simply mean that your gas cap needs to be tightened. This is the first thing you should check once the light goes on, so try to pull over and tighten the gas cap before taking any further action. It’s also possible that your gas cap is cracked or completely missing. Don’t worry—a loose gas cap won’t damage your car, but it could affect your gas mileage.
Spark Plugs and Plug Wires
The check engine light could also indicate that you need to replace your spark plugs and wires. If the spark plugs or wires need to be replaced, your car may not accelerate smoothly, so you may feel a slight jerking back and forth as you try to go faster. Spark plugs and plug wires should be replaced as soon as possible, so make an appointment at an auto repair shop if you think this is why your light has turned on.
The oxygen sensor is responsible for measuring how much unburned oxygen is left in your exhaust system. If the oxygen sensor is not working properly, your car will start to eat up more fuel than it needs, and it could eventually damage your catalytic converter. Get this part replaced as soon as possible to avoid additional expenses. Learn more about the role of the oxygen sensor here.
A check engine light can also indicate a damaged catalytic converter. This part of the car converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, so without it your car will be releasing harmful gases into the air. It’s not common for the catalytic converter to break down unless another part of the car, such as the spark plugs or oxygen sensor, is also damaged.
Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow sensor will measure the amount of air that is coming into the engine and determine how much gas is needed to operate the car. If it’s not working correctly, your car will not run as efficiently.
Let the experts at Mancinelli’s Auto Repair Center inspect your car to determine why your check engine light is on. You can request an auto repair appointment by contacting Mancinelli’s Auto Repair Center online, or you can also text us. We have same day services available on most work and we also offer our customers access to a convenient, free shuttle.