Check Engine Light Symptoms – Know What’s Wrong


The check engine light can be vague and at times not very helpful. From major engine issues to something as simple as forgetting to tighten the gas cap, Gary’s is here to help you determine what the check engine light can mean when it lights up your dashboard.

Check Engine Light – Best Case Scenarios

The check engine light normally displays a solid yellow, orange, or red glow when activated. Here are some common examples of non-emergency check engine lights:

Loose Gas Cap: This one may seem silly, but modern cars have multiple sensors throughout their various systems. The fuel system is arguably the most important system in your car next to the drive train. Something as simple as a loose or unattached gas cap is enough to trigger a problem. Since many cars do not feature a “loose gas cap light” the check engine light is used instead (some high end or modern vehicles do feature a loose gas cap light however). This is by far the easiest, fastest, and most likely source of your check engine light, so be sure to check this first.

Faulty Oxygen Sensor: This is an issue that is more urgent than a gas cap, and can be handled by the pros at Gary’s. The oxygen sensor monitors what emissions are coming from your car, and ensures that the right oxygen to fuel mixture is being delivered to your engine. Over time, the sensor can become dirty and faulty. This can reduce your gas mileage, and can increase the harmful emissions coming from your car.  A faulty oxygen sensor can lead to bigger problems, such as a damaged catalytic converter.

Faulty Spark Plugs: Depending on the age of your vehicle, your spark plugs will need to be changed every 50,000 kilometers. There’s really no way to prevent spark plug failure, as they are an item that simply wears out over time. A failing spark plug will result in slight jolts in acceleration when driving. Seeing the check engine light for spark plugs isn’t cause for concern, the job can be handled very quickly and with ease.

Faulty Airflow Sensor: The airflow sensor in your car works opposite to the oxygen sensor, meaning it monitors the air coming IN to your car. The airflow sensor also makes sure the correct air to fuel mixture is delivered to your engine. This check engine light is usually triggered by an old air filter not functioning properly. Replacing your car’s air filter can help prevent this issue from occurring. If your airflow sensor has gone, a mechanic can repair the issue fairly quickly.

Damaged Catalytic Converter: If you experience any of the other issues (minus the faulty gas cap) you may end up with a damaged catalytic converter. A damaged catalytic converter is the worst of the best case scenarios. Preventative maintenance on your car can keep your catalytic converter from failing. A damaged catalytic converter can impede gas mileage, and render your car inoperable. A replacement catalytic converter can cost upwards of $300 and requires the service of a trained mechanic.

Check Engine Light – Worst Case Scenarios

A flashing check engine light is a sign of urgent service required for your car, however, you’ll likely be aware of a major engine issue such as a seizure without the need for a blinking light. Oil pressure issues, over heating, blown gaskets or seized engines are all possible symptoms of the dreaded blinking check engine light. These issues can leave you completely unable to operate you car. Thankfully, you can avoid these types of issues with regularly scheduled maintenance.

Book a maintenance appointment with us today! 


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