Car Care Tips

Tips to keep your car on the road.

Safety September 21, 2015

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

If your check engine light turns on, your vehicle is alerting you that some sort of maintenance is needed.

On the hopeful side, if you recently pumped gas, possibly your gas cap isn’t tight enough. The improper pressure inside your gas tank could indicate a leak in the emission system, causing the check engine light to illuminate. If your vehicle doesn’t seem to be having any problems with performance, tighten your gas cap and see if the alert goes away. If it is still on after 3 days, it’s time to pay Virginia Tire and Auto a visit.

At Virginia Tire and Auto, we will read the code from your car’s computer and diagnose the problem. The most common check engine alerts are related to the following:

Mass airflow sensor (MAF)

The mass airflow sensor calculates the amount of air that’s coming into the engine so the computer adds the right amount of fuel. A faulty MAF sensor will trigger the check engine light and can also cause poor gas mileage, increased emissions and stalling. Changing the air filter at the recommended time will help prevent this from occurring.

Oxygen Sensor

There are 2-4 oxygen sensors in a vehicle. The sensor analyzes the amount of oxygen in a vehicle’s exhaust to determine how much fuel has been burned. Gas mileage and emissions are highly affected when this sensor malfunctions. Not repairing this issue could also lead to catalytic converter problems.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide and other compounds into compounds that are safe for the environment. If it stops functioning properly, your gas mileage will suffer and your car may accelerate improperly.

Spark Plugs and Wires

If your car ‘jolts’ while accelerating, the spark plugs could be to blame. This issue can be avoided by replacing the spark plugs when recommended.

Take a check engine light seriously. Something triggered the sensor to come on and ignoring the issue will only create an even more costly repair.

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