What Triggers the Check Engine Light?
While many find it to be annoying, useless and sometimes scary, the service engine or check engine light is a actually a very useful tool for drivers. This light is triggered by sensors that detect some sort of issue in the vehicle's operating system. The problems vary, and there are many, many reasons that this light may turn on. While some of these issues are much worse than others, the most common things that make it come on are relatively simple fixes. But it is important that you bring your car to a mechanic as soon as that light turns on in order to have the issue properly diagnosed and repaired. Not doing so can lead to bigger problems, as demonstrated by this first issue, which is followed by three other common check engine light triggers.
Faulty Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter is designed to convert hazardous engine exhaust fumes into less harmful emissions. This part uses rare metals and is expensive to replace, but it won't fail unless another, smaller problem came before it. The initial problem would have illuminated the check engine light but having failed to get the issue diagnosed, it grew worse, resulting in a need for an unnecessary and expensive repair.
Bad MAF Sensor
The MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor detects the air that flows into the air intake and calculates how much needs to be mixed with the gasoline in order to create a proper running engine. If the MAF flows these calculations will be off which results in the engine running rich, meaning it is using too much gasoline. This issue not only decreases fuel efficiency but it can cause numerous other problems for your vehicle's engine as well.
An exhaust leak will throw off the readings being taken by the Oxygen Sensor, which can also cause your vehicle to run rich and create a drastic increase in hazardous emissions fumes. If the sensor is unable to obtain proper readings of the amount of oxygen in the exhaust the check engine light will be illuminated.
Loose or Broken Gas Cap
The best news that you get get in regard to a check engine light is that it was caused by a loose gas cap. A loose, cracked or otherwise damaged cap can allow gasoline vapors to evaporate out of the filler hose, triggering the light! Always be sure your gas cap is tight every time you fill up!
When the light comes on head to the repair shop right away to avoid the chances of the problem growing worse. If you need check engine light repair in Palo Alto, Mountain View or the surrounding areas be sure to contact The Car Doctor. Our team of skilled auto repair technicians will restore the reliability of your vehicle in no time. Give us a call at (650) 492-6853 to request professional auto repair in Palo Alto today.
The Car Doctor Blog
Written and Published By MORBiZ
Brake Failure: 7 Warning Signs
Why Is It Important to Always Follow Your Oil Change Schedule?
8 Easy Ways to Improve Fuel-Efficiency
How Come My Car Won't Start? Here Are 6 Possibilities
Top 7 Signs of Alternator Trouble
Common Signs of Serious Engine Trouble
Bad Driving Habits that Can Destroy Your Transmission
When to Suspect a Suspension Problem
Important Benefits of a Coolant Flush
7 Reasons the Check Engine Light Illuminates
Always Keep Current with these 6 Important Auto Maintenance Tasks
6 Warning Signs of Cooling System Failure
Recognizing Brake Trouble
6 Symptoms of a Transmission Problem
Expert Auto Repair in Palo Alto, CA
Stay Up to Date on these 6 Important Fluid Flushes
7 Ways to Boost MPGs
6 Signs that You Could Need Alternator Replacement
6 Problems that Can Prevent a Car from Starting
Top Signs of Suspension Trouble
Why is the Check Engine Light On?
Does This Mean it is Time for Auto Repair?
Great Traits of a Professional Auto Repair Shop in Palo Alto
The Sounds of Car Trouble
Top Signs of Big Trouble Under the Hood
The Best Ways to Maintain a Safe Car
Why does my vehicle need oil changes every 3,000 miles?
Is it Time for a Tune Up?
The Importance of Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
Is Your Car Up to Date with These Auto Maintenance Services?
Is it Time for Drive Belt Replacement?
What is Cooling System Service?
What Triggers the Check Engine Light?
Schedule Brake Repair as Part of Routine Auto Maintenance
Why Does My Car Need Scheduled Auto Maintenance?
Restore MPGs with Routine Auto Maintenance
Top Qualities of a Dealership Alternative
Could Your Vehicle Benefit from a Wheel Alignment
How to Tell if it is Time for Transmission Service
Is Time for Major Engine Repair?
What is a Fluid Flush?
Keeping Up with Scheduled Auto Services
What is Factory Auto Maintenance?
3 DIY Auto Maintenance Tips
Top 5 Reasons Your Car Won't Start
Creating of a Fleet Vehicle Preventative Maintenance Plan
Does this mean I need brake repair?
5 Times you Need to Visit an Auto Repair Shop
Are You Keeping Up with Oil Changes?
6 Tips for Raising Your Miles Per Gallon
Finding Top Notch Auto Repair Services
How do I know if I Need Suspension Repair?
Easy Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car
What is Scheduled Auto Maintenance?
How Important is Tire Pressure?
5 Signs of a Failing Ignition
3 Signs it is Time for Clutch Repair
Does my car need new tires? Here's how to tell!
What is Leaking from my Car?
The Major Benefits of Quality Replacement Auto Parts
Top 7 Auto Electric Problems
How can an Auto Repair Shop become a NAPA AutoCare Center?
5 Transmission Troubles that Require Repair
5 signs it's time to make an appointment for brake repair
What Causes a Car Battery to Die?
Hard Starting: Does my car need a new starter motor?
Does my Car need an Engine Rebuild?
Fuel Delivery Failure: Common Fuel System Repairs
How to find a great auto repair shop in Palo Alto
Common Reasons the AC isn't Cold
Pee-Yew! The Smells of Car Repair
Why do Vehicles have so Many Computers?
What Does Colored Exhaust Smoke Mean?
Does My Car Need an Alignment?
Bad Vibes: 3 Shakey Signs Your Car Needs Auto Repair
5 Signs of Alternator Failure
3 Symptoms of an Exhaust Leak
Why Does My Car Smell Funny?
Help! My Car Won't Start
3 Signs it's Time for Exhaust Repair
Why is My Car Loud?
4 Common Reasons the Check Engine Light Comes On
How to Save Gas and Money this Summer
Time For Brake Replacement? 6 Ways to Tell
6 Signs Your Car Needs Suspension Repair
Timing Belt Replacement
Understanding 30/60/90K Maintenance
4 Signs You Need Brake Service or Brake Repair
How Important are Regular Oil Changes?
Six Signs of Transmission Trouble
Preparing for Winter Driving