Q. My check engine light is on, what should I do?

maintenance lightsIf you notice one of these lights don't panic. These lights are used to indicate your vehicle is due for routine maintenance.One of the most common reasons such a light may be displayed is to indicate that your vehicle needs or will soon need an oil change. Many newer automobiles have a system to track the "oil life" and notify the owner when it is time for an oil change. Your vehicle may also have reach a point where other routine maintenance intervals have been reached.  An actual check engine light on the other indicated that a sensor on your vehicle has recorded a system error. There are many systems being monitor by todays vehicles and an error code in anyone of them can trigger a check engine light. One of the most common reason is a loose gas cap or a gas cap with a bad seal. So first thing Check engine lightsyou can do is check to see if your gas cap is on correctly. If that is not the problem you should bring your vehicle in as soon as possible to have the problem properly diagnosed.The five most common resaon a check engine light may be activated are:

  1. A fualty O2 Sensor: a faulty o2 sensor can reduce your gas mileage by a whopping 40 percent. That's equal to easily $100s of dollars in additional fuel cost a year.
  2. A loose or damaged gas cap: Loose or missing gas caps can be blamed for 147 million gallons in evaporated gas each year and can reduce your gas mileage by 1/2 percent, according to CarMD. This is an esay one to fix yourself.
  3. A Problem with your Catalytic converter: Failure of this part is often the result of problems with your ignition system. A bad spark plug for example. You really don't want that to happen. A new catalytic converted is going to cost at least $1,000  to repair and can seriously reduce your vehicles performance and gas mileage.
  4. Problems with ignition coils or spark plugs. This type of problem can also damage that expensive catalytic convert if it is not promptly addresses. It can also reduce fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.
  5. Mass air flow sensor: A problem with this part can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 25 percent. The best way to keep this part in good working order is regularly change your air filter. Replacing this part can cos 20 times what a new air filter cost. 

There are many other possible causes for a check engine light to come on these are just the five most common. Below you can see a few more possible cause. Keep this in mind if you have a check engine light on you are probably experiencing substaincial lose in milage and your vehicle WILL NOT pass a state inspection.

 CheckEngine light reasons