Despite the hopes created by K.I.T.T in Knight Rider, modern cars still cannot talk. While that’s no surprise, of course, it might be startling to learn that they can communicate with you in their own way. Their dash lights are not just for flash, pomp, and pizzazz, after all, and the check engine light might be the most communicative of all.
Unfortunately, you do need to speak their somewhat cryptic language to get the message loud and clear. Not sure how to make that happen? Simply use this guide to learn what your car might be trying to tell you by lighting up its check engine light.
MAF is Dirty, Damaged, or Malfunctioning
When your mass airflow sensor, or MAF, gets dirty, damaged, or otherwise malfunctions, your engine ends up without the right air-fuel ratio. When that happens, it might run too rich or lean, resulting in poor fuel efficiency, a rough idle, and stalling. If you’re lucky, your tech can clean it up and replace the air filter to fix the issue. If not, then you may need a new MAF to continue on your travels without worry.
Spark Plugs or Coils Fail to Do Their Duty
In most cases, your spark plugs are good for 30,000 to 90,000 miles, while coils last up to 150,000 miles. But, like any parts, there’s a chance they can malfunction and stop working prematurely. Oftentimes, they work intermittently, causing your engine to fail to start, consume fuel like wild, and develop a nasty misfire.
Oxygen Sensors Have Suddenly Gone Haywire
Oxygen sensors can go bad at any moment, often leaving the onboard computer thinking the engine is running lean. When that happens, your gas mileage will likely go down – and fast – as the computer orders more fuel. If you don’t replace that sensor right away, the extra fuel can damage your catalytic converter as well, turning a minor repair into a much bigger job.
Catalytic Converter Has Lost the Will to Live
If the honeycomb substrate in your catalytic converter gets clogged, your car won’t run right and will fill the air with the smell of rotting eggs. With normal use, your cat should last about 10 years. Unfortunately, rich conditions can cause it to give up the ghost much faster than that.
Gas Cap is Loose or Gone on Hiatus
The monitoring systems in modern cars are quite sensitive and can even tell if your gas cap is loose or missing. Without that cap keeping a tight lid on your fuel tank, your gasoline and hard-earned dollars will evaporate into thin air. Thankfully, your check engine light is on the job and will let you know about the issue posthaste.
Need Help Deciphering What Your Car’s Trying to Say? Schedule a Visit Today
Here at CAMS Automotive in Kenner LA, we can use the information your car is sharing to track down the problem and get you back on the road fast. Whether it’s your check engine light, an obvious misfire, or an awful eggy smell, we’re here to help you out.
We look forward to welcoming you through the doors like family and providing the highest quality of service and support. So, give us a call at 504-461-9838 or schedule an appointment online to find a convenient time and date to come into the shop.