Common Engine Warning Light FAQ’s
Check engine lights are typically yellow or red and the icon is shaped like an engine. You’ll see the icon in the middle of your vehicle dashboard behind the steering wheel.
If your check engine light is flashing for more than six seconds you could have an emergency on your hands. Pull your car over, turn it off, and phone for immediate assistance.
There are many components in your car that can trigger your check engine light to come on, however, we find that these are some of the most common issues found once a diagnostic scan is performed to check codes.
- Faulty Oxygen Sensor – The oxygen sensor measures the amount of oxygen in your exhaust system and communicates that information to your car’s computer so that it can adjust the engine’s air filter. When the sensor is faulty, the car will use up more fuel and produce more emissions. It is not an alarming problem but should be reviewed and resolved by a mechanic.
- Faulty Gas Cap/Fuel Cap – A cracked, loose, or faulty gas cap can cause your engine light to come on because the fuel system detects a vapour leak. Sometimes, it can indicate a more serious leak in the upper portion of the fuel system. To resolve, tighten or replace the gas cap and then keep driving. The engine light should go off, but if it does not, seek out your mechanic.
- Failed Catalytic Converter – The catalytic converter controls emissions in your exhaust system. It converts carbon monoxide and other harmful gases into less harmful byproducts. If it is failing, you usually spend more money on fuel and your car’s performance is impacted. A catalytic converter is an expensive part on your vehicle, so get your mechanic to check it out promptly if your check engine light comes on.
- Faulty MAF Sensor – This helps your car’s computer determine the amount of fuel to be added based on the amount of air coming into the motor. A dirty or improperly installed air filter can trigger the MAF sensor failure. The MAF sensor is not an emergency, but it will create a decrease in fuel economy, poor performance, and rough engine idle until it is fixed.
- Faulty Spark Plug – Bad or failing spark plugs can trigger your check engine light to come on. Spark plugs should be changed in accordance with your manufacturer’s manual, so check it or have an automotive centre check it to see if your spark plugs are due to be changed.
- Faulty Ignition Coil – This is part of your vehicle’s ignition system. It converts the vehicle’s voltage into required bolts that trigger the spark plug to ignite the engine’s air-fuel mixture. When it burns or shorts out, the engine light will come on. If the ignition coil is faulty, have a mechanic give your entire vehicle’s ignition system a check.
- Faulty Charging System – If your car won’t start, the problem could be with a fault in the alternator or a part of the vehicle’s electronic charging system. Have your battery checked regularly to avoid a faulty charging system.
If the light is steady and not flashing, it is okay to drive the vehicle. However, make sure the vehicle’s essential systems, such as the brakes and lights, are operational. You’ll also want to watch your dashboard in case any other warning lights turn on and indicate other problems.
We encourage you to bring your vehicle into Automotive Hospital for a full diagnostic scan to determine the reason for the check engine light and to offer solutions to your vehicle’s problems on the spot.
After you clear the computer, you need to drive up to 160 km to give it a chance to monitor all the sensors and register any results.
Yes. This is one of the parts that is monitored by the computer and will register if the system efficiency is below the threshold.