The engine is the car's powerhouse. The engine is also one of the most expensive car parts. These two facts mean you should diagnose and fix engine issues as soon as they occur. Manufacturers equip their cars with sensors and lights that alert motorists to possible problems. One is the check engine light, which alerts you to different engine issues.
Below are common reasons the check engine light might pop up.
Faulty or Missing Catalytic Converter
Combustion engines produce dangerous byproducts of combustion that harm the environment. The catalytic converter changes dangerous emissions into harmless ones. Some thieves target catalytic converters since it's easy to remove and sell. The engine is designed to alert you if the catalytic converter is not working, which will be the case if it's missing or faulty.
Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor
The oxygen sensors detect the amount of oxygen in a car's exhaust gases. The car uses oxygen level feedback to control the air-fuel ratio in the combustion chambers. The air-fuel ratio affects combustion efficiency and engine efficiency. For example, high oxygen levels in the exhaust gases might indicate the engine is burning its air-fuel mixture incompletely.
A malfunctioning oxygen sensor might send the wrong feedback to the car's ECU (electronic control unit), interfering with engine operations and potentially damaging the engine. Thus, your car will alert you if the oxygen sensor malfunctions.
Malfunctioning Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow sensor, part of your car's electronic fuel injection system, measures the volume of air entering the combustion chambers. The ECU uses the feedback to calculate the correct air-fuel mixture, which affects engine performance. Thus, the check engine sign will light up if the sensor malfunctions.
Faulty Spark Plugs
The spark plugs provide the electrical spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. A spark must produce a spark at the right time. The plug must also be at the right temperature for the ignition. Faulty spark plugs interfere with combustion and trigger the check engine light.
Extremely Low Oil Pressure
Lastly, the check engine sign can also light up if your car's oil level is too low. The engine needs correct oil levels because it uses the oil for lubrication and cooling. Inadequate oil level increases friction on moving parts of the engine, which accelerates wear and tear. Inadequate oil pressure also allows the engine to overheat. Both problems can lead to serious engine damage.
Reach out to an automotive technician to learn more.