Unfortunately, when a malfunction indicator lamp (also known as your check engine light) comes on, immediate action is required, whether that means paying for repair or not. That is because it is not safe to drive a vehicle with potential performance problems.
This is especially true in the case of major engine damage. In this case, it is in the best interest of your safety to either have your engine repaired, or to junk your car entirely. So learn why your check engine light might be on, and what to do if it is too expensive to repair.
Professional Diagnostic Testing
There are countless reasons for a malfunction indicator lamp to illuminate on a driver’s dashboard. Because there are so many different variables involved when it comes to determining a problem, a person needs professional assistance. The first step in figuring out why your check engine light has illuminated is diagnostic testing. Usually, an automotive repair shop is the obvious place to get this type of analytical testing. They retain the proper tools, training, and equipment to accurately diagnose readings derived from diagnostic examinations. This service can cost anywhere from $50 to $75, depending on the particular provider.
On the other hand, if you are familiar with automotive service and repair, you can purchase a diagnostic test kit and perform the assessment yourself. These are available at any local automotive store, and come in a wide range of options and prices. Keep in mind that you may need to learn how to read codes and pinpoint all contributing factors to accurately diagnose the underlying problems.
⚉ Loose Gas Cap
The job of the gas is to seal the fuel system and retain pressure inside the fuel tank. It prevents gasoline fumes, or hydrocarbons, from being admitted into the atmosphere and polluting the air and surrounding environment. If a loose gas is not fastened properly, gasoline within the tank will evaporate causing a drivers fuel level to decrease substantially. Considering the high gas prices these days, this is a very undesirable situation for any driver to have on their hands. The good news is that a loose gas is simple to fix. Simply type of backup or purchase a new cap that will fit and seal your fuel tank properly.
⚉ Oxygen Sensor
Oxygen sensors, also referred to as O2 sensors, measure the amount of oxygen that is unburned in a vehicle exhaust system. They will cause a check engine light to illuminate when it’s time for them to be replaced. Again, if a driver fails to replace their O2 sensors, they will begin to lose a significant amount of gas mileage because the engine will burn more fuel than it needs to. Fuel economy loss can reach up to 40% or more if an oxygen sensor problem is ignored for too long. Defective oxygen sensors can also cause problems with a vehicle’s spark plugs and catalytic converter; a much higher and costly automotive repair.
⚉ Mass Airflow Sensors
A mass airflow sensor, or MAF, is the center that determines how much fuel your engine needs to run properly. It accomplishes this by measuring the amount of air entering an engine. All recommendations for O2 sensor replacements are the same for mass airflow sensors. Failure to replace MAF sensors can cause damage to a vehicle spark plugs or Lytic converter as mentioned before; as well as, reduced engine performance and fuel economy. Again, if caught early on and replaced on schedule, these repairs will cost less than if damages were to occur.
⚉ Spark Plugs
We mentioned above that failing to replace sensors can cause damages to a vehicle spark plugs or plug wires. Well, when a malfunction indicator lamp turns on it could mean that your spark plugs or plug wires need replaced. This is also a fairly inexpensive repair, so it is important to catch this early on as well and have them replaced by professional automotive repair shop or licensed mechanic. Failing to replace plug wires can cause damages to ignition coils and O2 sensors, clog catalytic converters, and much more.
⚉ Catalytic Converter
The most costly and expensive reason behind an illuminated check engine light is a malfunctioning or damage catalytic converter. Catalytic converters convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide; protecting our environment and reducing harmful exhaust emissions. Neglecting to replace or repair a damaged catalytic converter will cause your vehicle to fail the state’s vehicle emissions test. Your car will lose fuel economy, experienced reduced gas mileage, poor engine performance, and operate at a higher temperature. This can lead to engine overheating and more.
Total Loss Vehicles
Some of the above-mentioned automotive issues may render a vehicle a total loss. Then occurs when the total cost of the repair exceeds the total current value of the vehicle. For instance, if your vehicle has a current market value of $2500, but the cost to replace your engine is $3500, your car is considered a total loss. This means it is totaled. In this situation, you can redeem the insurance money for it, or sell it to an Indianapolis junk car buyer for instant cash on the spot.