If Your Check Engine Light Is On, It Could Be Affecting Your Engine Performance

January 2, 2019 9:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When the check engine light in your vehicle comes on, you don’t necessarily need to panic—there are certainly reasons why the alert could show up on your dashboard that don’t put you in mortal danger. Of course, it is still important to bring your vehicle to a mechanic in New Palestine, IN as soon as possible after you notice this light to verify why it has come on. At the very least, if your check engine light is on, you can reasonably expect that it is having a negative effect on your engine performance.

Here’s some information about the potential reasons why your check engine light may be on:

  • You need a new oxygen (O2) sensor: The O2 sensor in your vehicle keeps track of how much unburned oxygen there is in your car’s exhaust system. If you do not replace your O2 sensor, there’s a chance your engine will begin to burn more fuel than necessary to operate, which will reduce your fuel economy and result in you spending more money at the pump. In addition, a malfunctioning sensor can result in damage to your catalytic converter and spark plugs. It’s best to get it replaced as soon as possible.
  • There’s a problem with your gas cap: The gas cap seals off your fuel system from the outside world, maintaining the proper pressure within the fuel tank. It prevents the fumes from your gasoline being sent into the atmosphere while you’re not driving, as well. If your gas cap is loose, damaged or missing, the check engine light may illuminate. You should resolve the issue as soon as possible to avoid losing fuel through evaporation and having to fill up more frequently.
  • You need new spark plugs or plug wires: The spark plugs are in charge of igniting the mixture of air and fuel in your vehicle’s combustion chamber, while the spark plug wires send that spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. Replace these parts if you’re having issues with them to avoid poor engine performance (such as reduced power) and reduced fuel economy. Damaged spark plugs and plug wires can also result in clogs in the catalytic converter or damage to your O2 sensor.
  • Your catalytic converter needs to be replaced: The catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Damage to the converter usually occurs as a result of neglected maintenance to other parts of your vehicle. If you do not replace the catalytic converter, your vehicle will not pass an emissions test, you’ll have significantly worse fuel economy and your car may run hotter.
  • You need a new mass airflow (MAF) sensor: The MAF sensor measures how much air is coming into the engine, which determines how much fuel you need to run your engine. A failure to replace the MAF sensor can cause damage to spark plugs, the catalytic converter or your O2 sensor. You’ll also experience reduced engine performance and fuel economy.

For more information about why your check engine light may be on, talk to a mechanic in New Palestine, IN at Auto Air & Heating, Inc. today.

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