Nobody ever wants to be driving along and see their check engine light come on. However, it happens to pretty much all of us at some point. Different cars might have different indicators. Sometimes if the light is bright red and/or flashing, that usually means that the problem is extremely urgent. In other cases, a lighter color and solid illumination means that it is something less concerning.
No matter what, when you see that check engine light come on, you will want to get your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Make sure and get any problems fixed before they develop into something much worse.
Though there are many different things that might trip the check engine light, the Bay Area auto repair experts at San Francisco Automotive Solutions have identified these 8 most common sources:
1. Oxygen Sensor
The oxygen (O2) sensor is a very sensitive component. It may fail and trigger the check engine light or it may be doing its job and detecting airflow problems within the engine or exhaust system.
2. Spark Plugs
If one or more of your spark plugs isn't working right, it will generally trip the check engine light. You may also find trouble getting your car started or you may notice the engine is not running smoothly if a spark plug is failing.
3. Catalytic Converter
A problem with the catalytic converter is another very common reason why your check engine light comes on. This is a vital part of the exhaust system, so if it is not working correctly you will want to get it address as soon as possible.
4. Wiring Problems
Sometimes there may be faulty wiring or some other electrical issue that causes the check engine light to illuminate. Wiring problems can be tough to pinpoint, so it's best to have a professional automotive technician find the source of the failure.
5. Low Battery
Most cars will also have a battery warning light to let you know when there is a problem specifically with the battery or maybe the alternator isn't working correctly. A dying battery may also trigger the check engine light, though.
6. Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)
This is another important, yet sensitive, sensor that measures the amount of air being pulled into the engine. If the sensor fails or detects a lack of proper airflow, it will cause the check engine light to come on.
7. Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve
This valve allows certain exhaust gasses back into the engine to help with fuel combustion. If it is not working properly, you might see the check engine light illuminated.
8. Loose or Damaged Fuel Cap
Something as simple as a fuel cap that isn't on tight enough or is damaged in any way can trip the check engine light.
As you can see, there are numerous sources and reasons why your check engine light might be coming on. That's why it is so important to have an auto repair expert run diagnostic tests and perform a thorough inspection to make sure that the specific problem is identified and repaired.
When your check engine light comes on in the city, call San Francisco Automotive Solutions today at (415) 957-1170 or book your service appointment online.