Problems That May Arise When You Ignore The Check Engine Light On Your Vehicle

The check engine light (CEL) is a signal that indicates something is wrong with your engine. Various problems, both minor and severe, can cause the check engine light to come on. Unfortunately, ignoring the CEL can have serious implications for your engine. Therefore, take note of these issues that may arise if you disregard the check engine light on your vehicle.

Fuel Contamination

A loose, missing, or faulty gas cap can cause the CEL to come on. Gas cap defects can increase your car's running costs and damage your engine. If the cap is loose or missing, dirt and grime can enter the gas tank and contaminate the fuel. The contaminants can obstruct the engine's processes and shorten its lifespan.

The absence of a gas cap also allows fuel to evaporate and escape the gas tank. These vapors produce an error in the vehicle's emission systems. Also, a defective cap causes the car to lose more gas to evaporation, which increases fuel consumption. Therefore, check your gas tank for a faulty or missing cap. 

Reduced Fuel Economy

The check engine light can be caused by serious issues, such as worn spark plugs, a faulty catalytic converter, or a faulty mass airflow sensor. These faults can reduce your vehicle's fuel economy in various ways.

Worn spark plugs

Spark plugs provide the electrical spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture to power the engine. Worn spark plugs do not produce sufficient sparks to ignite the engine. Therefore, they cause the engine to misfire, which weakens its performance and lowers fuel economy. Worn spark plugs can also strain the battery and shorten its lifespan.

Faulty catalytic converter

The catalytic converter breaks down harmful exhaust gases, such as carbon monoxide, into safe emissions. A faulty or clogged catalytic converter causes exhaust gases to get trapped in the car's engine. These gases reduce engine performance, which lowers the vehicle's fuel economy. The buildup of harmful gases can also cause your vehicle to fail the emissions test.

Faulty mass airflow (MAF) sensor

The mass airflow (MAF) sensor measures the volume of airflow to the engine at any given time. It enables the engine computer to determine the right amount of fuel to inject into the system for a balanced air-to-fuel ratio. A faulty MAF sensor may fail to measure the airflow correctly, causing the engine to inject an incorrect amount of fuel. The resulting air-fuel imbalance causes drivability problems, including loss of power, poor acceleration, and reduced fuel economy.

The above issues can increase your car's running costs and eventually cost you a lot of money to fix. Visit an auto repair shop for a diagnosis and for repairs.