Top 5 Reasons Your ‘Check Engine’ Light is On

August 21st, 2014 by

auto repair Cincinnati Ohio


As an auto repair center in Cincinnati Ohio, we are all too familiar with the “check-engine” light and the pure dread it causes drivers. No one wants to get into their car first thing in the morning and be hit with bad news before even getting to work. 

All too often, drivers ignore the light because it’s easier than dealing with it (or so they think), or they believe that it is simply a glitch in their vehicle’s computer system. Making either of these assumptions will lead to bad things in the future for the health of your vehicle, not to mention your wallet. So don’t ignore that light any longer! We have compiled a list of the top 5 reasons your “check engine” light is on, and what you can do to fix them. Stop dreading the evil light, and finally do something about it!

Likely Reasons Your Check Engine Light is On

  1. Oxygen Sensor Needs Replaced. This part of your vehicle monitors the unburned oxygen from the exhaust. It also monitors how much fuel is burned, and when it fails, it will cause a decrease in gas mileage. The sensors get covered in dirt and oil ash over time, and will reduce the functionality of the sensor. Avoid a busted catalytic convertor down the line which can cost $2,000, and pay an auto repair shop around $200 to fix it.
  2. Loose Gas Cap. When a gas cap is loose, fuel vapors escape and throw your car’s system for a loop. Before taking your car in, make sure the cap you have is tightened securely, and that there are no cracks. Gas caps run about $5 at an auto parts shop – an easy and inexpensive fix.
  3. Catalytic Converter Failure. This carbon monoxide converter is important to run your car efficiently. Most of the time this will need to be replaced, which can cost up to $2,000 – so be sure to get your vehicle in to an experienced mechanic ASAP.
  4. Mass Airflow Sensor Failure. This handy device tells your car’s computer to add the correct amount of fuel by gauging the amount of air coming through the engine. Your car will likely fail emissions, stall out, and have a significant decrease in gas mileage. To avoid this problem, keep your air filter fresh by replacing it once a year. The replacement cost at a mechanic can be anywhere between $200-$400, so be sure to keep your air filter fresh and clean to avoid this cost.
  5. Spark Plugs and Wires Need Replaced.  Failing spark plugs mean misfiring, and a resulting jolt in your car’s acceleration. If your car is newer and has fewer than 100,000 miles, your spark plugs should be fine. If they do fail, get them fixed immediately. It’s a cheap fix and will help avoid a ton of other costly repairs down the line.