8001 Minnetonka Blvd.


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Friday: 7am – 5pm

6407 West Lake Street


Mon-Thu: 7am -6pm
Friday: 7am – 5pm

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What to do when your check engine light comes on

by | Jul 12, 2022 | Check Engine Light, Dashboard light, dashboard warning, maintenance | 0 comments

We’ve all had it happen to us at some point in our driving career – your check engine light comes on. You could be in the middle of a cross country road trip or taking that short drive to work. Whenever it comes on, drivers, like you, can have some questions about what to do. The short answer is to make an appointment with your local mechanic to have your check engine problem diagnosed. The long answer is that it could be any number of things causing your check engine light to turn on. If you’ve been curious about the possibilities of what your check engine light means, then keep reading as we talk about some reasons your check engine light is on.

Check Engine light caused by Loose or faulty gas cap

Your gas cap and valves in your gas tank keep your gas from escaping so that your fuel can keep circulating and keep your car running. If your gas cap is loose or faulty, it may cause your car to lose fuel or for your fuel system to circulate gas improperly. It’s a good idea to check your gas cap first, and if it’s not loose, have your mechanic take a look.

Worn Spark Plugs

Your spark plugs ignite a mixture of fuel and air to create combustion which powers your engine’s cylinders. If your spark plugs aren’t firing correctly, this can cause your engine to misfire which can result in weaker engine performance and higher emissions.

Check engine light & Faulty Catalytic Converter

Your catalytic converter changes carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide which helps protect the environment. When your catalytic converter is faulty, it can reduce fuel efficiency, increase emissions, and reduce engine performance. Replacing may not be the answer. Many times a faulty catalytic converter is caused by something else – for example, a blown head gasket which can force burnt coolant vapor into your exhaust.

Vacuum Leak causing the Check Engine Light to come on

Your vacuum system helps decrease emissions by routing the fumes as gas evaporates through the engine. Your vacuum hoses can crack or dry out especially if exposed to intense heat or cold. When your check engine light turns on, it’s a good idea to have your vacuum system inspected.

Ignition Coils

Your ignition coils deliver electrical pulses to each spark plug. When the engine computer sends a signal, the coils release pent up energy to spark plugs where it ignites the air + fuel mixture. Ignition coils are prone to failure after several years so if you notice poor fuel economy or a decrease in engine power, it’s a good idea to bring your car to your mechanic.

Fuel Injector

Each cylinder in your engine has a fuel injector, which is a small, electronically activated valve that regulates how much fuel is sprayed into the cylinders during the intake cycle. Our fuel naturally has impurities, and when combined with carbon generated from combustion – it can cause holes in the injector tip to become clogged or plugged. When your fuel injector becomes completely clogged, the fuel injector can get stuck open – leaking fuel into the cylinder.

Oxygen Sensor Failure

Your oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburnt oxygen in your car’s exhaust, and sends this data to your car’s computer. The oxygen sensor is used to regulate the mixture of air + fuel that enters your engine cylinders. When the sensor fails your car can keep running, but it will burn more fuel and over time can damage your spark plugs, and catalytic converter.

These issues are just some of the issues your car could be having when your check engine light goes on. You can be certain about your car’s specific issue that triggered your check engine light, we recommend making an appointment so one of our mechanics can take a look, diagnose, and get your car running in peak condition.