Of all the warning lights on your vehicle’s dashboard, the check engine light can be the most alarming and confounding. What’s wrong? The possible causes of the check engine light run the gamut from the serious like a misfiring engine to the more benign loose gas cap.
While you don’t have to pull your car over to the side of the road immediately, it is important to bring your car into Auto Select and have your car diagnosed as soon as possible. This can help avoid damage to critical and expensive parts.
This light is part of your car’s onboard diagnostics system, also known as OBD II. This system records a specific code based on the particular problem in your vehicle. That code then can be read with a special diagnostic computer, and it gives the technician information about which system in the vehicle is detecting a problem. Although the code sometimes directs the tech's attention to a specific part, such as an oxygen sensor, it doesn't automatically mean the oxygen sensor is failing.
For example: The oxygen sensor detects how many raw, unburned fuel particles are being emitted from the engine, and it helps your vehicle adjust the fuel/air mixture going into the engine in an effort to reduce the unburned fuel. If the oxygen sensor is flagging a code, it could be the sensor or something else that's causing the engine to run lean (too much air / not enough fuel) or too rich (too much fuel).
In many cases, you probably won't notice any difference in driving performance for your vehicle, but don’t ignore the warning light. It could end up costing you more in the long run. Remember that oxygen sensor we talked about? If that is failing, it can allow those raw fuel vapors to pass into the catalytic converter, which can cause the converter to fail. And replacing the catalytic converter is a much costlier repair than an oxygen sensor.
Whether it's a bad oxygen sensor, a missing or loose fuel cap, a leak in the fuel tank or hoses or a problem with the catalytic converter, Auto Select's ASE-Certified Auto Repair Technicians will pinpoint the problem and determine the best solution for your vehicle’s needs.