Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Check Engine Light

If you spend any amount of time driving, there’s a good chance you’ve seen that little light on your dashboard come to life: the words “Check Engine,” often accompanied by a small graphic of the engine. It’s easy to ignore that little light, and many drivers often do. However, this can be extremely dangerous to neglect, as your check engine light can represent a variety of issues, both minor and serious. In order to determine what the underlying cause is, it’s important that you have your car diagnosed by a local auto repair service like Citywide Auto Care.

If the check engine light is on but not flashing, you don’t need to immediately panic. Unless your car is exhibiting alarming symptoms such as overheating or stalling, you should be safe to drive a short distance until you can get to an auto repair shop in Orange. You may notice that your light turns itself off after a while. If this occurs, you should still visit an auto repair shop as soon as you can; somewhere in your vehicle, a malfunctioning component caused that light to turn on, and it isn’t going to magically fix itself. You’ll want to bring it to a complete auto repair provider and have their technicians investigate the root cause. If the check engine light is on and rapidly flashing, however, that means that there is a serious mechanical issue in your car or truck, and you need to stop driving immediately. You’ll need to pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine, and have it towed from there to an auto repair shop in Orange to have it fixed.

The most common causes behind a check engine light turning on are:

  1. A lost or missing gas cap. As embarrassing as it is, people sometimes forget to screw the gas cap back on after refueling their car. Double-check that your gas cap has been tightened down all the way or if it has broken off entirely. If you’ve somehow lost your gas cap, don’t worry; it’s a very inexpensive component to replace.
  2. Issues with the oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor regulates the fuel-air mixture in your engine, ensuring that proper combustion takes place. If there’s too much fuel in the mixture, the engine runs rich which negatively affects your emissions and gas mileage. Oxygen sensors can be damaged by fuel additives or oil from worn-out engines, and they may require replacement. 
  3. Spark plugs. Responsible for igniting the fuel-air mixture in the engine’s cylinders, spark plugs can eventually wear out and fail to fire properly, causing the engine to suffer performance issues and even damaging your catalytic converter.

It’s important that you resolve your check engine light issue quickly for several reasons. Firstly, small issues with your engine can become larger and more expensive failures if they aren’t addressed promptly. Replacing a single spark plug, for instance, is much less expensive than replacing the catalytic converter. Another major reason to address the issue quickly is that the check engine light cannot tell you if there are multiple issues at play. If the light turns on because of a minor problem that does not immediately affect your car’s performance, it can end up masking an issue that is much more serious.

Are you looking for a complete auto repair shop in Orange to check your engine light? Bring it to Citywide Auto Care. We’ve been the trusted providers of complete auto repair in Orange since 2002, employing ASE-certified technicians that are fully trained in the latest tools and techniques in the industry. We can quickly and efficiently diagnose the issues your car’s engine might have and offer repair solutions at an affordable rate. If you’d like to learn more about our auto repair services for Orange, give us a call at (714) 633-4211 today.