Blog Post

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

Today’s modern vehicles are more complex than ever before. However, one thing your vehicle can’t do is talk! Having said that, it can still communicate with you. And one of the ways it does so is through dashboard indicators. 

For example, your fuel light will come on when your vehicle needs fuel. Your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) will trigger if your tires are low on air. 

While everyone understands these indicators and their importance, many may overlook the check engine light. Let’s explore this dashboard indicator and the most common reasons it’s triggered.

Blinking orange check engine light on a vehicle dashboard. Concept image of “Why is My Check Engine Light On?” | Modern Auto Service in Fruitland, ID.

How Does Check Engine Light Work?

Your vehicle uses a computerized onboard diagnostic system (OBD-II). This computer continuously scans various parts, components, and performance metrics. If the OBD-II detects a problem error in your engine or emissions, the check engine light will be turned on.

If your check engine light is triggered, it’s imperative to have vehicle diagnostics and the necessary repairs as soon as possible. Failure to have auto repair can cause other parts to fail, which means more expensive auto repair.

Fortunately, the technicians at Modern Auto Service can help. We offer check engine light services and auto repair for any automotive problem.

What Causes an Illuminated Check Engine Light?

Here are the common things that can trigger your check engine light.

Gas Cap Issues

We get it—seeing a check engine light can be alarming. However, it can be triggered by something as simple as a loose, damaged, or faulty gas cap. This is because a defective or missing gas cap can allow gas vapor to escape, which will be detected by your OBD-II. 

Thus, if your check engine light is on, the first step should be to check your gas cap. If the gas cap is loose, you tighten it or replace it. Once the check engine light goes off, there is no need for further vehicle diagnostics.

Bad Spark Plugs

If your spark plugs are not firing correctly, it can trigger your check engine light to come on. Unfortunately, you will need vehicle diagnostics for a technician to attribute the check engine light to bad spark plugs accurately.

Failing Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter transforms dangerous carbon monoxide into safer carbon dioxide, which helps protect the environment. If your catalytic converter is bad, it can increase emissions, decrease fuel efficiency, and reduce your vehicle’s performance.

At the same time, a failing catalytic converter can cause your check engine light to come on, which requires vehicle diagnostic and repair.

Bad Battery

Although your battery is a simple component, it’s necessary for your vehicle to start. Fortunately, most modern batteries are engineered to last several years and are maintenance-free. However, every battery will need replacement eventually. When the time arrives, it can cause your check engine light to come on. A bad battery is only one of the electrical repair issues that can trigger your check engine light.

Is Your Check Engine Light on? Contact Modern Auto Service in Fruitland, ID Today!

At Modern Auto Service, we offer check engine light diagnostics and repair as well as virtually every auto repair your vehicle will ever need, including brakes, wheel alignment, hybrids, fleets, and more. Contact Modern Auto Service in Fruitland ID today. Call us at (208) 452-2886 or stop by our shop at 1225 S Pennsylvania Ave., Fruitland, ID 83619.