Check Engine Light On? Why & What To Do: Fresno Dealership Explains

What is the Engine Light and Its Importance?

Have you ever experienced that heart-sinking moment when the “Check Engine” light suddenly illuminates on your dashboard?

It’s a dreaded signal that something might be wrong with your vehicle, but what does it really mean? As a local buy here pay here used car dealership in Fresno, CA, we understand the concerns of credit-challenged individuals.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind why your engine light is on and how to address this crucial warning.

The engine light, also known as the “Check Engine” or “Malfunction Indicator Lamp” (MIL), is a warning system integrated into modern cars.

It monitors various components of the vehicle’s engine and emission systems.

When an issue is detected, the light is triggered to alert the driver that attention is required.

Check Engine Light On
– Table of Contents –

Understanding the Check Engine Light

Common Misconceptions About the Engine Light

Common Causes of Check Engine Light Activation

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Understanding the Check Engine Light Codes

OBD-II Diagnostic System

To understand why the engine light is on, we need to grasp the OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) system. It’s a computerized system that generates fault codes whenever a problem arises.

How to Interpret the Codes

Interpreting the OBD-II codes requires a diagnostic tool or scanner. These codes provide essential clues about the issue affecting the vehicle, enabling precise troubleshooting.

Common OBD-II Codes

The term “OBD-II codes” refers to the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) generated by the On-Board Diagnostics system in modern vehicles. These codes help identify specific issues affecting the vehicle’s engine and emission systems. There are thousands of potential OBD-II codes, but some common ones include:

  • P0171 – System Too Lean (Bank 1)
  • P0420 – Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
  • P0300 – Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
  • P0442 – Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (Small Leak)
  • P0128 – Coolant Thermostat (Coolant Temperature Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature)
  • P0455 – Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (Gross Leak)
  • P0507 – Idle Air Control System RPM Higher Than Expected
  • P0136 – O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1, Sensor 2)
  • P0401 – Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Flow Insufficient
  • P0174 – System Too Lean (Bank 2)

Please note that these codes are just examples, and the actual codes may vary depending on the specific make, model, and year of the vehicle.

When diagnosing and troubleshooting issues with the check engine light, it’s crucial to use a reliable OBD-II scanner to retrieve the exact codes for accurate identification and resolution of problems.

Common Misconceptions About the Engine Light

Loose Gas Cap Myth

One common misconception is that a loose gas cap is the primary cause of the engine light coming on.

While it’s true that a loose gas cap can trigger the light, there are several other reasons that should be considered.

Glitch or Faulty Sensor Misunderstanding

Sometimes, people believe that the engine light is on due to a minor glitch or a faulty sensor.

While this can be a reason, it’s not always the case. The light could indicate a range of potential issues that need proper diagnosis.

Ignoring Minor Issues Misbelief

Another misconception is that if the car seems to run fine despite the engine light being on, there’s no need to worry.

This can be a dangerous assumption as the underlying problem may worsen over time and lead to costly repairs.

More Common Misconceptions

Misconception: The engine light is on because the car is faulty or defective.

Reality: While a lit engine light can indicate an issue with the vehicle, it doesn’t necessarily mean the car is fundamentally flawed. The light serves as a warning that there might be a problem that needs attention, ranging from minor issues to more complex ones.

Misconception: The engine light is on due to a minor problem, so it can be ignored. 

Reality: Ignoring the engine light is not advisable. Even if the problem seems minor initially, it could escalate into a more significant issue over time and lead to expensive repairs. It’s essential to address the warning promptly to prevent further damage.

Misconception: The engine light is on because the gas cap is loose. 

Reality: While a loose gas cap can sometimes trigger the engine light, it’s not the only reason for its illumination. Other, more serious issues could be causing the light to turn on, so it’s crucial to have the vehicle properly diagnosed by a qualified mechanic.

Misconception: Disconnecting the car battery will reset the engine light, and the problem will go away. 

Reality: Disconnecting the battery may reset the engine light temporarily, but it won’t fix the underlying issue. The light is designed to alert you to potential problems, and resetting it without addressing the cause can lead to further complications and potential safety hazards.

Misconception: The engine light is on because it’s just a glitch or a faulty sensor.

Reality: While it’s possible that a faulty sensor could trigger the engine light, assuming it’s always a glitch or sensor problem is risky. The light can indicate various issues with the engine, emissions system, or other vital components that require professional diagnosis and repair.

Misconception: The engine light is on, but the car seems to be running fine, so there’s no need to worry. 

Reality: Modern cars are equipped with advanced engine management systems, and a lit engine light should not be taken lightly. Even if the car appears to run fine, an underlying issue may still exist, and getting it checked by a qualified mechanic is essential to prevent potential breakdowns or safety hazards.

Addressing the Engine Light Issue

Importance of Prompt Diagnosis

When the engine light comes on, prompt diagnosis is crucial. Ignoring the warning can lead to more significant and expensive problems.

Seeking Professional Mechanic Help

For accurate diagnosis and proper repairs, it’s best to seek the expertise of a qualified mechanic.

They have the necessary tools and knowledge to fix the issue effectively.

Westland Auto Sales has Its own auto repair shop also backed by in-house financing.

Which can come in handy when in a pinch.

Call For Services Today: (559) 981-2535

Benefits of In-House Financing for Bad Credit

As a local buy here pay here used car dealership in Fresno, CA, we provide in-house financing options to credit-challenged individuals.

This allows them to access reliable transportation and improve their credit with timely payments.

Maintaining Vehicle Reliability with an Onsite Repair Shop

Our onsite repair shop offers financing options for repairs, helping customers keep their vehicles in top condition and on the road.

Common Causes of Check Engine Light Activation

  • Oxygen Sensor Failure
  • One of the most common reasons is a faulty oxygen sensor. This sensor monitors the oxygen levels in the exhaust gases, and its failure can affect fuel efficiency and emissions.
  • Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor
  • The mass airflow sensor measures the air entering the engine to determine the fuel-to-air ratio. A malfunction can result in decreased performance and increased emissions.
  • Catalytic Converter Issues
  • A failing catalytic converter can trigger the engine light and lead to reduced fuel efficiency and increased exhaust emissions.
  • Spark Plug or Ignition Coil Problems
  • Worn-out spark plugs or malfunctioning ignition coils can cause rough idling, decreased fuel efficiency, and engine misfires.
  • Emission System Troubles
  • Issues with the emission system, such as a loose or damaged gas cap, can activate the engine light.

DIY Troubleshooting Tips (When Safe)

Checking the Gas Cap

If you suspect a loose gas cap might be the cause, ensure it’s tightly sealed.

If the light persists, further investigation is necessary.

Inspecting the Battery

In some cases, a weak or failing battery can trigger the engine light.

Check the battery terminals for corrosion and ensure a secure connection.

Addressing Minor Issues

Simple issues like a dirty air filter or a loose wire can sometimes cause the engine light to illuminate.

Addressing these minor problems promptly can prevent bigger issues

You could get everything you need done without having to chop off your arm.

Check Engine Light On? Why & What To Do: Fresno Dealership Explains – FAQS-

  • Q: Can I continue driving with the engine light on?
  • A: It’s not advisable. Continuing to drive with the light on may lead to more significant issues and higher repair costs.
  • Q: Will a faulty sensor cause permanent damage?
  • A: Not necessarily. However, ignoring the issue can lead to more severe problems over time.
  • Q: How can I improve my credit with in-house financing?
  • A: Making timely payments on your auto loan can positively impact your credit score over time.
  • Q: Can I use OBD-II scanners at home?
  • A: Yes, there are consumer-grade scanners available, but professional mechanics have more advanced tools for accurate diagnosis.
  • Q: Are there any DIY repairs I can attempt?
  • A: Only attempt simple troubleshooting tips when safe, and seek professional help for significant issues.

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Contact Us Today to Get Approved For Your Pre Owned Vehicle

If you’re in the market for a used car, truck, SUV, or van, and you’re worried about your credit score, we are here to help. 

Our team will help you get the pre-owned vehicle you need. With timely payments, it can improve your credit as well.

Thousands of other happy customers of the Fresno area just like you have already been approved and are on their path to a better future.

With low down payments starting at only $500, great premiums for your trade-in, and a free warranty, you’ll be set up to succeed from the start.

Contact us today! Learn all about our selection of pre-owned vehicles and bad credit car financing options.

Extra Resources To Help On Your Journey

We love to share the wealth!

Here are some resources and trusted vendors that we personally use.

They can help you take care of your vehicle as well as keep your credit and finances in tip-top shape:

To get people to look into not only our company but our affiliate plugs

Car Parts

High Quality and Affordable Car Parts: Advance Auto Parts

High Quality Dash Cams and Car Accessories: Rexing USA or VanTrue or Nextbase

Car Audio & Sound Systems: Eonon 

Premium Wiper Blades & Accessories: Clix Auto

Easy Key Replacement & Programming DIY: Car Keys Express

High-Quality Orignal and Custom Car Lighting: LASFIT

Quality Car Parts/Accessories (mats, covers, assemblies): Oedro

Premium Car Detailing Supplies: Chemical Guys

High-Performance Car Parts & Air Filters: KN Filters 

High-Performance Parts: Max Speeding Rods

Speed and Performance Parts: Spectre Performance

Air Intakes: Airaid

Original & Aftermarket Wheels: OE Wheels LLC

Battery Tenders: Deltran Battery

High-Quality Tires Of All Types: Priority Tire or Discount Tire

DIY Car Extras

In the event your dealer doesn’t provide you a history report: VinAudit

To learn to recondition your old car battery: EZ Battery Reconditioning

For DIY Ford vehicle repair: Ford Shop

To learn to take some knicks out of your car’s paint: High Quality Car Spray

If you find yourself in need of a car rental: Discover Cars or Airport Rental Cars or Holiday Autos

If you’d like to see what public car auctions are like: Gov Auctions or Gov Seized Auction

Personal Finance & Credit

To help you improve your credit: Axion Credit Repair or Coast Tradelines

For a DIY credit repair course: DIY Credit Repair

To help you get free of debt and increase your credit: What Lies In Your Debt?

If you’re in a bind and need cash quickly: Bad Credit Loans or Cash Advance

For personal loans of higher quantities: Fortuna Credit or Personal Loans

For a high cash-back credit card (make sure you only use it as if it’s a debit card!): Laurelroad 

We will keep sharing all our vendors that we have a great experience with. Only the ones we see align with our values as time goes on, both locally and nationwide.

To signify the freedom in having your own vehicle

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not financial advice. Always consult with a qualified financial professional for personalized guidance.

I Dedicate this impeccable Blog Post To The One Mark Beneke! I did IT!!!