Trouble shooting check engine light car

If your check engine light comes on it could indicate any number of problems and means that it is time to come into AAMCO Minnesota for your free check engine light diagnostic test. The check engine warning light is there to help you know when there is a problem with your cars engine and other systems.


Your check engine light can indicate a huge number of problems, from a serious repair to a loose gas cap. While your check engine light can indicate hundreds of problems all with different causes, there are five common reasons why check engine lights turn on. Spark plugs wear out over time and this can cause your engine to shake, stall, choke or chug.

The Most Common Check Engine Light Causes and What to Do About Them

Your mass airflow sensor measures the amount of air flowing into your engine, without this sensor your engine can really suffer. If this sensor is malfunctioning your car may become hard to start, drag, jerk or hesitate when accelerating, you may idle too fast or too flow and your engine can hiccup. The 02 sensor reads measurements and is able to make adjustments to the mixture of fuel and oxygen.

If your 02 sensors need to be replaced, your engine may not be receiving the right mixture of oxygen and fuel. While it may sound silly, a loose gas cap is one of the most common culprits for a check engine light. If your check engine light comes on after pulling away from the gas station, pull over, turn off your engine and tighten your gas cap.

Once you have tightened it, restart your car and if the light stays off you have fixed the problem.

What to Do If Your Check Engine Light Comes On

If the light stays on, then it indicates there is something else wrong, but at least you have ruled out one easy cause! This is one of the more expensive reasons not to ignore your check engine light. A bad airflow sensor leads to bad fuel efficiency and engine performance and could damage the spark plugs, catalytic converter, and oxygen sensor. Spark plugs or wires need replacing. The spark plugs and spark wires work together to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber and transfer the spark from the ignition coils to the plugs.

Bad spark components also lead to poor engine and fuel performance, as well as damaged ignition coils, oxygen sensors, and could clog a catalytic converter. Regardless, you should always have your car inspected as soon as possible after the light turns on.

Determine if the problem requires immediate attention. In addition to the check engine light, your dashboard may also indicate low oil pressure or overheating issues.

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Pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you can if these lights also illuminate. Some cars may have a red check engine light to alert you to stop right away, while a yellow light stands for investigation. Reduce speed and load, if possible.

Can I Drive With My Check Engine Light On?

If vehicle performance problems accompany the check engine light, lower your speed and take it easy on the engine. Avoid speed surges erratic shifting. Check your gas cap. Especially if the light comes on shortly after refueling, pull over and check that your gas cap is tightly in place.

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This often solves the issue, though it may take several restarts of the engine to reset the light. The light comes on because it detects a leak in the evaporative emissions system, although many newer car models include a gas-cap specific indicator light. Take a moment to see if the car is driving any differently than normal. Is it bucking?

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Are there any unusual sounds? If nothing seems out of the ordinary, you can continue driving the car. It could be anything from a faulty oxygen sensor to a bad MAF sensor. It could also mean your catalytic converter has given up the ghost.

Check Engine Light On: Why? What to do?

Just have the check engine light checked and the problem repaired. Not repairing the problem can lead to more serious, and expensive, damage down the road. The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Check Engine Light is on Inspection. Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2, U. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair. A misfire is caused when the fuel is not getting burned in one of the cylinders. If this happens, find a safe place to pull over. Continuing to drive when the check engine light is flashing can cause damage to the engine and catalytic converter.

Reading the codes related to the check engine light is easy. These scanners work on all vehicles manufactured from to the present. The scanner is plugged into the OBD port of your vehicle, and it subsequently will display what the trouble code is. From there, you can research the code and discover the part of the car where the problem is occurring, then take the necessary steps to repair it.

If purchasing a scanner is not an option, but you still would like to self-diagnose the problem, many automobile repair shops or retail stores such as Auto Zone have code reader for you to use. They often will read the code stored in the vehicle's memory for free. When an error code its formal name is Diagnostic Trouble Code or DTC is stored in the memory of your vehicle's ECU, it will cause your check engine light to illuminate on your dashboard.

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It means that something is wrong with your vehicle? It could be a simple fix or a more complicated problem.