One of the most upsetting things in life is when your check engine light illuminates on your dashboard as you are driving down the road. Regardless of how experienced a driver you are, you begin feeling nervous.
An illuminated dashboard light could be warning you about a number of issues. Some of these may be no big deal, while others could be right before a breakdown. It is difficult — if not humanly impossible —to know what is going to happen after your check engine light turns on. Therefore, it helps to know what the most common reasons for your check engine light.
1. Defective Oxygen Sensor
A small sensor inside of your automobile's exhaust pipe detects the amount of oxygen inside your vehicle's exhaust system. This sensor then relays that information to your vehicle's computer, and your computer will then utilize that data to ensure the appropriate air-to-fuel mixture in order to maintain ideal engine performance.
In many cases, symptoms of a faulty oxygen sensor are not immediately obvious. As a result, you won't know that there is something wrong until the check engine light comes on. However, if you are paying close attention to your gas mileage, you will begin to notice that you are getting less and less miles per gallon. This is because defective oxygen sensors reduce your fuel mileage up to 40 percent.
Luckily, this is an easy fix. The sensor simply needs to be replaced. If you catch it early, then you are probably looking at around $200 for the part, according to CarMD. However, if you don't, the damage could lead to problems with your catalytic converter, which could lead to a more extensive repair costing you over $1,000.
2. Defective Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow (MAF) sensor deals strictly with the delivery of fuel and spark timing. Generally, this sensor utilizes a live wire in order to calculate airflow, which the engine's computer processes in order to make a wide assortment of adjustments internally. When the MAF sensor is defective, it can result in a number of issues, including decreased fuel economy, rough idling, and stalling.
Mass airflow sensors can be removed and cleaned, or they can be replaced with a new sensor. However, it is recommended that you attempt to change your air filter first. This is because the sensor relies very heavily on your air filter, so the condition of your air filter can impact how well the MAF sensor performs.
In some cases, a dirty air filter could result in dirt accumulating on the mass airflow sensor, which could cause the check engine light to illuminate.
3. Old Spark Plugs
Spark plugs may be tiny, but your car wouldn't be able to start without them. As spark plugs age, the harsh conditions that the plugs are constantly exposed to can cause significant damage that makes it difficult for the plugs to perform as necessary.
When these worn plugs are not replaced, it can result in reduced fuel economy, ignition problems, and potential impairment to other internal systems. In addition, your vehicle probably won’t start. While the repair isn't as quick or easy as the others previously mentioned, it is an important one. Your vehicle will need to cool off and parts may have to be removed in order to reach the plugs.
The best thing that you can do to prevent these problems is to keep your vehicle well-maintained with routine service. But even when life decides to throw a curve ball your way and your vehicle does break down, you can count on the professionals at Best Wrecker to pick you up in your time of need.