My Check Engine Light Came On…What Now?

One of the most stressful things that can happen while someone is driving is for the check engine light to come on (unless a bee happens to fly into the car while you drive…that’s much more stressful). When we see that light, sometimes we jump to the craziest conclusions.

What could it be? Is my engine about to explode? I’ll have to plan my escape.

Will my engine just fall out? I’ll have to push my car like the Flintstones.

(Disclaimer: these both will, in all likelihood, NOT happen)

Though the signal doesn’t tell us what’s exactly wrong and the ambiguity can be frustrating, the check engine light is an important warning for all car owners who want to preserve their car for the foreseeable future. If you see the light come on, that does not mean your car is in immediate danger. Though it does mean you should see your auto repair specialist as soon as possible.

Curious as to what exactly might be causing this? Here are a few reasons as to why your check engine light just went off.

You Have a Loose Gas Cap

This will be the most ideal scenario. If this is the case, simply open the hood of your car the next time you stop and tighten the cap. If you don’t you could lose some of your fuel due to evaporation and visit the gas station more often. Also, be aware that once this happens the light may not automatically shut off. It may take a little driving for the system to recognize your adjustment so stay patient!

Oxygen Sensor Needs To Be Replaced

Your Oxygen Sensor is important for measuring the unburned oxygen in your cars exhaust system. If not replaced, this could cause a loss of fuel economy, engine burning more fuel than it should, and additional damage to other parts in the car. In this scenario, it’s important to bring your car to a local professional and have them take a look at it.

Your Car Needs New Spark Plugs

Don’t take these little guys for granted. The spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your vehicle which activates the pistons in your car. In layman’s terms: they help get your car started and keeps it functioning throughout your drive. If not repaired, this could lead to additional damage to other parts of your vehicle (like the Oxygen Sensor) and you’ll experience a poorer performance from your vehicle (car won’t start, reduced power, and reduced fuel economy). Like the Oxygen Sensor, please let your local professional have a look at it.

These are just a few of the many reasons why your check engine light may have gone off. At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is to be proactive! Deciding to drive while this signal is on may be tempting, but taking action will ensure you have your car for the foreseeable future!

Written by Transmedics

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