Check Engine Light
If the check engine light comes on in your car, don't panic. It could be for a number of reasons, many of which are relatively easy and inexpensive to correct. Bring your car to Ripley's Muffler and Brakes, and we can provide you with a diagnostic report that lets you know what the problem is immediately.
A 2011 study by CarMD reveals that there are five common malfunctions that most often cause the check engine light to come on in new vehicles.
- Replace oxygen (O2) sensor: The O2 sensor monitors the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tells a car's computer when there is either too much, or not enough fuel. A faulty O2 sensor is inexpensive to fix, but can lead to as much as a 40 percent reduction in gas mileage, or nearly $700/year in wasted fuel.
- Replace gas cap: From 1998-2009, a loose, missing or damaged gas cap was the no. 1 reason for "check engine" related repairs. Now ranked as the 2nd most common repair, gas cap problems cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year. If left unchecked they can result in a 0.5% decrease in gas mileage and harm the environment.
- Replace catalytic converter: The catalytic converter converts waste gases produced by the internal combustion engine into materials less harmful to the environment, or not harmful at all. A catalytic converter normally won't fail unless related parts, like a spark plug, are ignored too long. Replacing the catalytic converter can be very expensive.
- Replace mass air flow sensor: The mass airflow sensor measures the amount of air coming through your car's engine, and then tells you car how the appropriate amount of fuel to add. A bad mass air flow sensor can increase emissions, decrease your gas mileage and even cause your car to stall. Replacing your air filter once per year can help prevent your mass air flow sensor from failing.
- Replace spark plugs/wires: Spark plugs create the needed seal in the combustion chamber and they provides a gap for a spark to jump across that initiates the combustion in your car's engine. When a spark plug fails, it misfires, which can cause a jolt when you accelerate. Depending on the age, make and model of your car, your spark plugs can last anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 miles. However, it is possible for a spark plug to fail at any given time and need replacement.