A yellow warning indicator on the dashboard is never a good sign. Usually, when your check engine light comes on, it means that something is going on under the hood that needs to be fixed right away.
Before you start to worry, you should investigate some of the most common causes behind your check engine light, to see if it's a simple fix:
1. Your gas cap is loose.
If you’re just pulling away from the gas station and suddenly notice the light on your dash, it is probably just an alert from your car that you forgot to close the cap. Find a safe spot to park your car, and check to make sure that both the gas cap and door are tightly closed. If that doesn't do the trick, you should call your mechanic right away.
2. You have a faulty sensor.
Over time, dirt and debris will build up on different parts of your car, including sensors. This build-up can interfere with the information transmitted by the sensor and create an alert. Some sensors are especially vulnerable like your oxygen sensors, which monitor your gas mileage and emissions, or your airflow sensor, which tracks how much air is passing through the engine. Luckily, certified technicians can use the code from the check engine light to quickly identify and replace the sensors.
3. Your spark plugs have worn out.
Spark plugs trigger combustion in the engine, but when they wear out or fail, they can cause misfiring and create jolts during acceleration which, in turn, triggers your check engine light. These parts are easily replaceable and should be checked frequently.
Get Your Check Engine Light Fixed At V&F
If your check engine light comes on and doesn't go away, it's important to get your car inspected. Call us at (413)314-2280 to discuss your maintenance schedule, or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated annually to reflect evolving technology and best practices.