Check Engine Light Goes On: Now What?

March 20th, 2019 by

Check Engine Kendall Dodge

Photo credit: AA1Car

Anytime someone starts their vehicle, there is a chance they might learn their vehicle needs to be serviced. Unfortunately, no vehicle is immune from the dreaded check engine light. When this happens, the only way to know for sure is to have the vehicle checked by a professional. That said, we have some suggestions as to what could be wrong and some solutions here might save time and money! Let’s find out why that engine sign is on.

The first thing to check is if the check engine light is flashing or just on. This could mean different things. Some vehicles also have a small signal and label “maintenance indicator”, which is not the check engine light. The maintenance indicator could mean many different things, including the air filter needs to be replaced, the engine’s oil needs to be changed or other simple fixes. This is something that our service department can help out with.  

First Step: Check Your Gas Gap

While there are a number of reasons, the first step is to remember to check is if the gas cap is loose or not. Sometimes a driver forgets to tighten the gas cap or replace the gas cap altogether. When inspecting the gas cap, note there could be cracks, which will cause a reduction in gas mileage as well as causing the check engine light. Sometimes, if an owner has overfilled their gas tank with too much gasoline, this could also be the reason for the check engine light. Topping off is a bad habit as sensors are made for a reason. Listen to when your vehicle has stopped the pumping of gas as overfilling leads to spilling fuel into tiny vacuum lines and filters, which is never good.

Mega Parts Might Need To Be Replaced

A faulty oxygen sensor could be the reason. When a sensor goes bad, it can’t measure the oxygen in the exhaust to inject the right amount of fuel to the engine. This problem can lower fuel efficiency as much as 40%. A quality O2 sensor runs around $175. If the catalytic converter isn’t working properly the engine light could go on as well. This is a vastly important part as it is reasonable for converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. When this part needs to be replaced, the exhaust is filled with gas or oil. The replacement for a catalytic converter can be anywhere from $350-1,500 just for the part! Always remember, this is general information and only a professional service department will be able to offer the correct quote for replacement parts.

The ignition coil could be the problem. This issue means the vehicle is not getting the spark to start the engine. It could even be a bad spark plug, which doesn’t allow the car to fire on all cylinders. If the car has had trouble starting or engine surges have occurred, this is probably the spark plugs. To know for sure, we recommend making an online reservation for a service appointment.

Was the Vehicle Recently Serviced?

Some owners opt to have aftermarket vehicle equipment added like remote car starts, rear-cameras, high-intensity-discharge headlights or new stereo systems. When these items are added, there is always the change the technician might have blown a fuse or used the wrong wire to make check engine light go on. This is something that happens every now and then.

Other Suggestions and Possibilities

It’s rather unlikely, but from time to time, the most likely reason is obvious. Is the vehicle with the check engine light on extremely old and hasn’t been used in a very long time? Vehicles that haven’t been moved are susceptible to issues happen. Batteries go dead, rust can affect a vehicle and issues from non-issue could arise. Whether or not it is any of these reasons, we can help out with the resolution at Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram.

If the repairs needed on your current vehicle aren’t appealing, perhaps coming in to test-drive our newest vehicles or our quality pre-owned vehicles might be. Experiencing car issues with your current vehicle? Our professional sales team is here to help our customers have an amazing experience. Please stop by today and see what we can offer you.