What Does My Check Engine Light Mean?

Driving your vehicle with the check engine light on could turn out to be a costly mistake. Many people tend to ignore the warning, but it's in your best interest to get it looked at as soon as possible. It could be an easy, inexpensive fix, or it could be more something more serious. Let's go over a few reasons why your check engine light is on.

Oxygen sensors and gas caps are among most common issues. Replacing the oxygen sensor is usually a $200 repair including parts and labor. However, when your oxygen sensor is defective, a vehicle's engine-control computer will typically default to a 'safe' mix of air and fuel that not only means your engine makes less power and pollutes more but also uses up to 40 percent more fuel. That could cost hundreds of dollars a year. Another common issue is the gas cap, which is even less expensive than the oxygen sensor. The gas cap may just need to be sealed properly. Driving with a defective gas cap can affect fuel economy by almost a half-percent, with the repair averaging to less than $3.

A far less common cause is that the catalytic converter needs replacing. Catalytic converter replacement is the third most common repair. It is the most expensive of the repairs mentioned, but if you take care of your check engine light in a timely fashion this can be avoided. Replacement can cost up to $2,000 depending on the vehicle.

The moral of the story is that you should take care of your check engine light before it turns into a bigger, more costly problem. Have one of our technicians check it out, schedule your appointment today.

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