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If Your Vehicle Illuminated the Check Engine Light – Should You Be Concerned?

One of the dreaded warning signs known to most drivers is the check engine light illuminating. That little orange (or possibly red in some cars) light could mean different things. The check engine light comes “on” when the onboard diagnostic computer detects a malfunction in your vehicle's systems. The Light may be turned on for hundreds of reasons, but here are some reasons the check engine light illuminates:


1. Failing oxygen sensor

Every car has an oxygen sensor that regularly determines the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust system and ensures that your engine is burning the right fuel. It also works with the catalytic converter to keep your emissions in check. When the check engine light illuminates, it could mean that the oxygen sensor is failing and needs to be replaced.

2. Problem with the gas cap

This is the least expensive and easiest problem to fix. Sometimes, the check engine light could be due to the gas cap being loose, or damaged.

3. Faulty spark plugs

If the spark plugs are damaged or worn out, your vehicle will not start. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your engine. Thus a problem with the spark plugs could cause the check engine light to come on.

4. Bad catalytic converter

Catalytic converters are responsible for changing carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, helping to protect the environment. Most catalytic converters are good for the entire lifetime of a car, but sometimes, they develop faults. A faulty catalytic converter may lead to strange smells, fuel efficiency, and decreased performance. Fortunately, catalytic converters rarely fail.

At Adams Autoworx in Castro Valley we offer check engine light testing and diagnostics, so if your vehicle turned on the light, we can pinpoint the cause and get it fixed.  Our full service Castro Valley car care facility offers the latest in digital diagnostics, and all work performed by our nationally ASE certified technicians is warranted for 3 years / 36,000 miles. Check engine light is a critical warning sign that should never be ignored – bring your vehicle to a trusted auto repair shop, so the problem can be repaired before it deteriorates into something worse. 

Adams Autoworx is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Adams Autoworx (510) 886-9299 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.