Check Engine Light? What Could That Mean?

Check Engine Light? What Could That Mean?

One Tiny Light, So Many Causes

Unlike other dashboard indicators that point to single causes (the temperature or brake lights, for instance), the check engine light can mean many different things. Unless you have your vehicle accurately diagnosed, you could randomly replace several parts or try various remedies and still not solve the problem. Instead of taking a haphazard approach yourself, bring your car to Auto Stop Elite in Vienna, Virginia (Great Falls area). Our ASE Master certified technicians will solve your auto’s check engine riddle quickly and accurately, getting you back on the road and on with your life.

The Most Common Causes

As we said, the check engine light is not a singular indicator. Rather, the warning can be triggered by many problems, ranging from quite simple to complex. While a technician will need to make a definitive diagnosis and corresponding repair, our staff has noticed some of the more frequent causes. Perhaps the simplest to fix–and maybe the most surprising for some drivers–is a loose gas cap. If this thankless part is not fitting well, it creates a breach in the closed fuel system. Your expensive gas can evaporate, and you may get the check engine warning. Also, oxygen measurement components can present problems when they malfunction. To measure the amount of air entering the engine, the mass airflow sensor is employed to allow the right amount of fuel for combustion to enter. The oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust. Either of these can make the light come on if they aren’t working properly. Likewise, a catalytic converter that’s going bad can cause a warning. This component is needed to change carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Regardless of the cause, you’ll need to address the underlying issue. First, your auto won’t pass the Virginia State Inspection if you don’t. Second, ignoring the problem may lead to bigger future repairs.

Your Local Solution for Check Engine Problems

If your check engine light comes on, don’t panic. It’s safe to drive your car to our shop (but you shouldn’t drive it for a long-distance or for a long period of time). One of our expert mechanics will connect it to the OBD-II reader, a computerized machine that will generate a universal trouble code. This has been possible since 1996 for all cars sold in the United States because of EPA regulations regarding emissions standards. Once the technician has the code, he/she will integrate that information with their experience and knowledge to pinpoint the specific problem that triggered the light. Only then will a repair be made. This process at Auto Stop Elite decreases time and money and increases accuracy.

Written by Auto Stop Elite