Few automobile problems are more vexing than the “check engine” light. When the light comes on, it may mean you simply didn’t tighten your gas cap enough after filling up — or it could mean there’s major trouble brewing in your catalytic converter.
CarMD.com, a seller of do-it-yourself tools to help you diagnose problems with your car, has compiled a list of the most common reasons the “check engine” light comes on, based on its database of engine repair information, which is compiled by automotive technicians. (They receive a fee in exchange for contributing data.) Art Jacobsen, the company’s vice president, said it is important to find out why the light is on because “small problems can lead to big price tags” if necessary repairs aren’t completed.
Here’s the list:
1. Replace the oxygen sensor. The sensor is a device that measures oxygen in the car’s exhaust and helps regulate how much fuel the engine needs to operate. If it’s faulty, it will make the car use more fuel than needed — and end up raising your fuel costs as much as 40 percent, Mr. Jacobsen said. “The vehicle will run fine, but it will inject more fuel and you’ll buy it more often,” he says. Replacing the sensor usually costs less than $200.
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