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Most Frequent Check Engine Light-Related Repairs of 2023

Yet another (annual) study from CarMD.com provides a glimpse of the 2023 car repairs – specifically top 10 check engine light–related repairs. CarMD.com has been providing us with check engine light repair insights for over a decade. CarMD.com analyzed over 15 million failures reported in 2023 and recommended repairs. At Adams Autoworx in Castro Valley we see our share of check engine light-related repairs so we are always eager to study the results reported by CarMD.com.

Sadly, catalytic converter replacement took the first spot on the list – with precious metals at or close to all time high prices, stealing catalytic converters (which contain platinum / rhodium) is still a lucrative activity.

As for vehicle age, 2007 vehicles were found to be the most likely to need check engine light diagnostics and repairs. So here are the top 10 check engine light repairs as reported by CarMD.com:


Catalytic converter replacement– as mentioned above, the first position help by catalytic converters is not due to their failure rate, but due to catalytic converter theft.

Oxygen sensor  replacement– when thieves cut out catalytic converters, the often cause damage to other components -  oxygen sensor replacements are direct result of catalytic converter theft.

Ignition coil and spark plugs  replacement – spark plugs replacement is a normal part of maintenance, and as vehicles age, ignition coils tend to need replacement as well.

Mass air flow sensor replacement– mass airflow (MAF) sensor design requires that one of the wires be heated to a high temperature. Repeated heating and cooling results in material fatigue which increases probability of mass airflow sensor failure.

Ignition coil  replacement – ignition coils can fail due to overheating, which damages insulation, and can lead to short-circuits. They can also fail because of voltage spikes generated by faulty spark plug gap, failing alternator, or other issues with the electrical system.

EVAP canister purge control valve replacement – purge valve allows fuel vapors from Evap canister to flow directly into the engine. Probably the most common problem is when it gets stuck in the open position. Likelihood of purge valve failure increases with age.

Tighten or replace fuel cap – we all hope for this outcome, as replacing the fuel cap is easy and inexpensive.

ABS wheel speed sensor replacement – wheel speed sensor informs the ABS system about the rotational speed of the wheel, and allows it to decide if anti-lock function is to be activated. The sensor can fail due to brake dust clogging or debris.

Fuel injector  replacement – fuel injectors typically fail due to bad fuel quality which clogs the injector, water in the fuel which causes corrosion, also because of material failure that can lead to leaks and cracks.

Reprogramming powertrain control module –when powertrain control module is replaced, it will need to be reprogrammed. Software updates from the manufacturer may also necessitate reprogramming,

Check engine light can be illuminated by, literally, hundreds of conditions. Getting to the root cause of the condition can require both  experience and specialized equipment.  At Adams Autoworx in Castro Valley we provide our nationally ASE certified technicians with the latest in diagnostic equipment, as well as regular training on the latest in repair procedures and technologies.

So when your vehicle illuminates the check engine light, call the professionals at our Castro Valley auto repair shop, and you will find friendly service advisors and technical excellence necessary to deal with even the most demanding check engine light related problems.


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