Check-engine-light-on

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 free 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.

 

11 Steps to Perform Your Own Auto Tune-Up

11 Steps to Perform Your Own Auto Tune-Up

Give your car this 11 step tune-up at least once annually to keep it in peak operating condition. By performing this type of regular maintenance, you’ll be able to catch problems before they leave you stranded on the highway.

  1. Give your car a basic checkup – Before you get started with a serious tune-up, give your car a visual inspection, inside and out. Look for any damage or signs of trouble.
  2. Check oil & fluids – Add any oil and replace it if necessary. Check brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, etc. Fluid that is dirty or low may need to be replaced or topped off. If your brake fluid is low, this could be a sign of a bigger problem.
  3. Check tire tread – Check the tire tread for signs of wear. Tire siping may be a good option if you can’t afford a whole new set of tires.
  4. Check battery for corrosion – Corrosion makes it harder for your car to connect to the battery. Check your battery for corrosion and clean it off wherever appropriate.
  5. Check turn signals, headlights, running lights & brake lights – This is easy enough. Simply turn on your car and ask a partner to walk around the vehicle while you flash all the lights. Replace any burned out light bulbs.
  6. Change the oil – If you’re not sure how to change the oil in your car, Edmunds.com has a very helpful tutorial that outlines the entire procedure, with pictures for each step. Don’t forget to properly dispose of the oil when you’re done.
  7. Check/replace air filter – Replacing a dirty air filter can improve your engine performance and gas mileage. Perform a visual inspection and check your air filter for dirt and debris. Replace the air filter if necessary.
  8. Check/replace wiper blades – Poorly functioning wiper blades can make it dangerous to drive in inclement weather. To check the functioning of your wiper blades, hose your car with a light mist then turn on the windshield wipers. Replace the blades as necessary.
  9. Check/replace belts – Look for tears, cracks and abrasions on the belts in your car, including the serptentine belt, power steering belt and the alternator belt. Although some wear and tear is to be expected, a belt that shows significant degradation may be at the end of its lifespan and should be replaced.
  10. Check/replace spark plugs – Spark plugs last anywhere from 10,000 to 60,000 miles. Inspect the rubber insulation around each spark plug, and inspect the wire itself for cracks. Replace any spark plugs that show sign of damage.
  11. Still having problems? Take it to a specialist. Even the most die-hard DIY car owner still needs to visit a mechanic once in a while. Take your car to Ace Auto Repair, where you can trust to get your car up and running for a price you can fford. Visit Ace Auto online to fill out a free quote form or to make an auto repair appointment.

5 Easy Tips to Get the Most Life Out of Your Tires

Ace Auto Repair - Life of Tires

Your tires are a critical, but often overlooked part of your automobile. Knowing what to look for, and why you are looking for it, can help you understand the importance of proper tire care. We’ve put together a list of five tips to help you get the most out of your tires.

  1. Check Your Tire Pressure Frequently

    Keeping your tires properly inflated can help your tires last longer, improve your vehicle’s handling and provide maximum safety for you and your passengers. If those reasons aren’t good enough, maybe the next reason will be. Tires that are properly inflated will help you improve your gas mileage and save on fuel. Your proper inflation level can be found in your owner’s manual, on the vehicle placard, usually inside the drivers-side door, or on the tire itself. Remember, over-inflating can be just as adverse as under-inflation so keep an eye on your tire pressure with an inexpensive tire gauge.

  2. Get Your Tires Rotated

    Road conditions, tire inflation, and the location of your tires on your vehicle will all affect how your tires wear. Having your tires rotated is where your tires are “rotated” to different positions around your car. This provides for more even wear and longer tire life.

  3. Balance Your Tires

    Like most things created by man, tires and the rims they are mounted on are not perfect. To perform better on the road however “balancing” can help create a better balance to them. This not only improves your tire wear, but it will help tires wear more evenly. If you notice a slight shaking or vibration in your car, it could be that your tires need balancing. Balanced tires can eliminate that shaking which will also save wear and tear on the vehicle itself.

  4. Get Tire Problems Fixed Fast

    Nothing good can come out of procrastinating when it comes to tire issues. Un-addressed tire issues can lead to everything from an inconvenient roadside flat to a dangerous hi-speed blowout. That leads us to our fifth and final tip to help you get the most out of your tires…

  5. Check Your Tire Tread Often

    Your tire’s tread is your best indication of what is going on with your tires. It is why you should check your tire’s tread frequently. If a front tire appears to be wearing unevenly it could be your wheels need alignment. Not only keep an eye on your tire’s wear, but occasionally check your tire for any foreign objects.

When you need help with an auto or truck repair, we invite you to contact us. We offer complete auto repair services throughout the Salt Lake Valley, Utah area. We service all makes and models. From small repairs to a complete engine exchange, we take pride in doing it right the first time.