You’re driving down the road and all of a sudden your check engine comes on. As it lights up on your dashboard your heart sinks. You stare at it and can feel your wallet getting lighter. Check engine lights are one of the most widely misunderstood warning lights for the simple reason that it could mean almost anything from a minor issue to a major problem.
If your check engine light starts blinking, pull over as quickly and as safely as you can. A blinking check engine light means there is a major failure happening and your car will not continue to run much longer. You’ll need to get it looked at immediately.
If your check engine light stays on, drive cautiously and get it to a service center as soon as possible. Here are five of the more common causes of check engine lights.
Check your gas cap
Often times the problem is that your gas cap wasn’t screwed back on tight enough after you last pumped gas. The vapors that are released through the cracks around the seal can throw off your entire system.
- O2 Sensor
There are two or more Oxygen (O2) sensors in your vehicle. These sensors monitor how much fuel is burned while driving. If these sensors get covered, it can reduce the quality of information transferred from the sensor to your car’s computer.
- Mass Air Flow Filter
Your mass air flow filter measures the amount of air traveling through your engine. If this filter gets clogged you could do some damage to your catalytic converter or O2 sensors.
- Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are what initiate the combustion in your engine. Faulty spark plugs can cause your engine to misfire.
- Damaged Catalytic Converter
Ignoring some of the aforementioned issues can cause major damage to your catalytic converter. If it stops functioning correctly, your car will have reduced performance and will not be able to pass an emissions test.