Check-engine-light-on

 

Check engine light

You might be driving at full speed on the highway or cruising through town when you notice the check engine light in your dash has come on. The car seems fine and you might be tempted to ignore the warning light. What is the check engine light? Why does the check engine light come on?

What is the Check Engine Light?

The Check Engine light, formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), is a signal from the car's engine computer that something is wrong. A federal government mandated on-board diagnostics (OBD) for all passenger cars sold in the United States, a check engine light is different than "service required" light which simply means it’s time for an oil change or air filter check. While increases in repair costs might cause consumers to postpone vehicle repairs, doing so is a bad idea. The reasons your check engine light is on range from a damaged gas cap to a bad sensor. The repairs may not be as costly as you fear.

Loose or Damaged Gas Cap - Average repair: $5.00

A loose or damaged gas cap is the least expensive, yet very common, problem that can cause your service engine soon light to come on. Loose or damaged gas caps result in millions of gallons of evaporated fuel each year across the nation. If you notice the check engine light going on and off, try tightening or even replacing the gas cap. The low average repair costs show that simply tightening the cap usually solves the problem.

Oxygen (O2) Sensor - Average repair: $150.00check engine light meme

A failed O2 sensor is the most common cause of a flashing check engine light. The O2 sensor is a critical part of the exhaust system, monitoring how much unburned oxygen is exiting the engine in the exhaust. The sensor sends messages back to the engine to adjust the mix of oxygen and fuel being used. A faulty O2 sensor will result in reduced fuel economy and can take a toll on the catalytic convertor. Replacing the O2 sensor will protect critical engine systems and keep your vehicle running at peak fuel efficiency.

Catalytic Converter - Average repair: $900.00 - $1,154.00

The catalytic converter is a rugged component of the overall exhaust system. Generally, catalytic converter repair is a secondary underlying program that is ignored for too long, such as a failed spark plug. A more costly repair because of the precious metals used in its construction, replacing catalytic converters represented just 6.1% of repairs in 2013.

Mass Air Flow Sensor - Average repair: $250.00 - $450.00

The mass air flow sensor calculates the amount of fuel needed to mix efficiently with the oxygen in the engine. A malfunctioning sensor will lower fuel economy up to 25 percent. Having it replaced by your mechanic will cost an average of $423.00 but will make it up to you in savings at the pump.

Replace Spark Plugs and Wires - Average repair: $100.00 – $200.00

Can spark plugs cause check engine light to flash? Absolutely! A fouled spark plug can cause the engine to misfire. Replacing the spark plugs in a timely manner will be a relatively small expense. The cost to replace spark plugs varies significantly based on the type of car you have and where you take your car.  Cars have differing numbers of spark plugs and the accessibility of the spark plugs will affect the labor rate as some cars may be designed in a way that makes the spark plugs harder to reach. Cars like a BMW will be on the higher end, and cars like a Toyota Corolla will be on the lower end. If the problem is ignored, the damage can spread to the spark plug wires, catalytic converter, or ignition coils causing a more costly repair.

Check Engine Light on in Utah? Contact us.

Local parts stores can check engine codes for free, but this will just give you an error code, and it just the beginning of the diagnostic process. You can buy a home diagnostic machine yourself, however, you would need to know how to read it.

We provide expert diagnostics with written estimates. Many people ignore warning lights if the car still seems to drive the way it used to, however, a check engine light is a red flag that something in your vehicle is amiss. If you see the check engine light flashing and you don’t take care of it immediately, you are putting your car at risk for costlier future repairs and malfunctions.

To get your check engine light diagnosis or repair, contact the professional mechanics at Ace Auto.

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As Gas Prices Increase, so do the Number of Scams!

Ga Prices Graphic - Ace Auto Repair

Gas prices are reaching all-time highs. So too is the volume of advertising for "gas-saving" products, designed to appeal to consumers looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency. Although there are practical steps car owners can take to increase gas mileage, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be wary of gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives. While some of the gas-saving products have been proven to work, the savings are small, at best. What’s more, you could end up with serious engine problems or a voided manufacturer warranty by adding after-market devices to your engine. The BBB recommends being particularly skeptical of the following kinds of advertising claims:

 

  • "Product improves fuel economy by 20 percent." The Environmental Protection Agency has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices and has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, some "gas-saving" products may damage a car's engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions. Some of these products include Air Bleed Devices, Vapor Bleed Devices, Liquid Injection, Fuel Line Devices, Mixture Enhancers, Internal Engine Modifications and more.
  • "I got an extra 4 miles per gallon with your product." Although ads may feature glowing customer testimonials, consumers should keep in mind that few people have the ability or the equipment to test for precise changes in gas mileage after installing a gas-saving product.
  • "Approved by the Federal Government." No government agency endorses gas-saving products for cars. However, the EPA has reached certain conclusions about possible gas savings by testing or evaluating the product.

Instead of searching for miraculous gas-saving products, the BBB recommends that consumers consider taking one or more of the no-cost or low-cost actions that can help drivers save on gas consumption. The most important place to start is at the gas pump; buy only the octane level gas you need. Check your owner's manual to determine the right octane level for your car. Here are more tips from the BBB to help you get better gas mileage:

  • Drive more efficiently. Stay within posted speed limits. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
  • Avoid "jackrabbit" starts and stops. Accelerate slowly when starting from a dead stop. Don’t push the pedal down more than one-quarter of the way; this allows the carburetor to function at peak efficiency. You can improve gas mileage up to five percent around town if you avoid jerky starts and stops.
  • Use overdrive gears and cruise controls when appropriate. They improve the fuel economy of your car when driving on a highway.
  • Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10 percent.
  • Avoid rough roads whenever possible. Dirt or gravel can rob you of up to 30 percent of your gas mileage.
  • Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce a typical car’s fuel economy by up to two percent.
  • Properly maintain your car. Keep the engine tuned, tires inflated and aligned, change the oil on schedule, and check and replace air filters regularly. Replacing clogged filters can increase gas mileage up to 10 percent.

Ace's Automotive Maintenance Tips

MaintenanceTips

  • Have tire wear, fluid levels, and exterior lights checked regularly.
  • Perform oil changes every 3 months or 3,000 miles, which ever comes first.
  • Perform cooling system services, transmission services, and rear differential services every 2 years or 20,000 miles, or as recommended by your service manual. These services are best performed during the spring and fall seasons.
  • Do not ignore your vehicle's warning lights; they light up for a reason. Warning lights may be yellow in color to signify the need for attention soon, or may be red to signify the need for immediate attention.
  • A Check Engine light, often yellow in color, may signify a potential mechanical, electrical, or computer failure. Check Engine lights may be related to vehicle emissions, which can result in lowered gas mileage.
  • Check Engine lights may or may not be accompanied by drivability problems such as sputtering, rough idle, or loss of power.
  • An Oil, Brake, or Coolant light, red in color, may signify the need for immediate attention due to a low fluid level, or a mechanical or hydraulic failure in that system. These types of problems may be accompanied by other symptoms such as a puddle of fluid underneath the vehicle.
  • Regardless of the warning light or color, pay attention to what your vehicle tells you. Refer to your owner's manual or call Ace Auto Repair at (801) 803-6016 for questions. This will help to ensure the safety and longevity of your vehicle