The engine is the main driving component of any vehicle that burns fuel to drive the car. Although the engine is considered one of the sturdiest components of a vehicle, excessive usage or other problems can impact its performance. Modern automakers have added features in their cars in the form of diagnostic trouble codes for users’ convenience. These diagnostic trouble code (1) indicates the drivers in case of the smallest error in a component to prevent a long-term issue.
In any case, checking the engine light should be taken with seriousness by the drivers as it could be an indication of a major engine component failure causing. This article explores the most common reasons that trigger the engine warning light and provides solutions.
Why should the Check Engine Light not be ignored?
Although a check engine light can indicate a minor error, such as a loose gas cap (3), it is advised to the drivers not to ignore this light in any case. Some drivers need to catch up on this light due to the fear of high-cost engine maintenance. But it is crucial to promptly address the check engine light warning, as ignoring this can lead to a further costlier problem later. Old vehicle owners (2) want to squeeze some last miles of their vehicle without paying hefty repair bills, but they need to turn the warning light off to pass the state’s vehicle inspection.
Yellow and Red Engine Warning Lights
The modern vehicle models have an added feature where they blink the warning lights in different colors to indicate the severity of the issue.
It is advised to the drivers not to drive the vehicle when the red engine warning light appears on the dashboard.
Reasons of Blinking of Engine Warning Light
A problem in Mass Airflow Sensor
The mass airflow (2) sensor is beneficial in operating the engine. Mass airflow sensor is also known as “air mass sensor and hot-film sensor.” Fuel and air are burnt together in a combustion engine, and the mass flow sensor collects the amount of fuel used during combustion and measures the amount of air used. The mass flow sensor sends the information to the car’s Electronic Control Unit (5). If the engine’s proper combustion process is not taking place, the mass air flow sensor will collect the data and turn the warning light on. A Mass Airflow sensor is present at the top of the engine at a point where the air enters the engine.
In some cases, the mass airflow sensor can also malfunction, sending wrong information to ECU, resulting in an engine warning light blinking on the ECU. The engine is always a complex part that simple drivers cannot comprehend. If the dirt on the mass air flow sensor is not accessible to the driver, thus, take the car to a service center to resolve this issue.
Faulty Ignition Switch Problem
The car’s ignition switch (1) is mainly known as the starter button. The purpose of the ignition switch is to help the engine burn fuel. In modern vehicles, the power and air are present as vapors and inserted into the combustion chamber. In the combustion chamber, the fuel and air vapors are burnt with the help of a spark. This spark is generated with the help of the spark plug present in the ignition system (5) of the cars.
In some vehicles, i.e. in diesel cars, the ignition of the fuel does not take place with the help of the spark plug. Instead, the piston is compressed and generates the spark. The spark plugs in cars require high power to ignite the fuel. The engine’s coils fulfill this power requirement. Modernized cars consist of separate coils for each cylinder. If there is any ignition switch problem, the particular cylinder will fail to ignite the fuel properly. This defect would impact the performance of the engine and also causes extreme damage to the car’s exhaust system. When any such issue occurs, the engine light turns on to indicate the problem.
The common signs of an ignition switch problem include a misfiring engine and a decrease in power and fuel efficiency. First, take the car to a service center and replace the ignition switch or connected parts. This will resolve the check engine light issue.
Gas Cap Problem
The fuel tank (4) is a complicated part of the cars and becomes more pressurized due to air stored.
Yellow box – The air replaces the fuel position as the fuel is thrown toward the engine from the fuel tank. The replacement of fuel with air or vacuum ceases the fuel tank. Thus, this affects the working of the fuel tank air sensor, and poor information is transmitted, which ultimately illuminates the engine light.
The drivers are advised to check whether the gas cap is tightly closed in case of an engine light blinks on the cluster meter. If the gas cap is closed tightly, there can be a hole in either the cap or any part of the fuel tank resulting in this problem. Take the car to a service center to get the issue resolved in that case.
Engine Oil Issues
Engine oil is necessary for the proper performance of the engine. It helps in lubricating all the engine parts. The warning engine light may appear due to a defect in the engine fuel. The light usually turns on to give a message of maintenance.
Moreover, when the engine oil becomes less, the pressure in the engine becomes low, which can impact the engine’s performance. Besides, there might be an error in the sensor, which provides false information, and the light is turned on. On the other hand, if the engine fluid is at level and sensors are working accurately, there might be any defect in the engine pump that is turning on the warning light.
In this case, ensure the engine oil is filled up to the level. Fill it up to the level of the engine oil level is low. Also, try getting the engine oil replaced every 3000 miles or the mileage indicated on the vehicle’s manual.
Faulty Oxygen Sensor
Due to the modernization in technology, the main aim of the car industry is to reduce pollution. Therefore the car industries are trying their best to provide safe driving and aim to reduce pollution by installing modern sensors that can help reduce air pollution.
One of the significant sensors installed in cars is the oxygen sensor. They are usually two in number. The oxygen sensors help determine the amount of unburnt oxygen released from the vehicles. This sensor helps in assessing the functionality of the engine, i.e., the amount of fuel burnt by the engine. If the car’s exhaust releases less oxygen, the vehicle consumes a large amount of energy and pushes minimum air into the cylinders. Thus, the large amount of fuel burning will increase air pollution.
The oxygen sensor cannot be checked at home, given its housing material and sensitive location. In this case, take the vehicle to the service center for the professionals to check the oxygen sensor and replace it if necessary.
A check engine warning light is common on the vehicle’s cluster meter. The same was the case with my Toyota Camry 2015. It was my first vehicle, so I was sensitive about any issue. I took it straight to the service center, which charged me around $100 for deciphering the code. Then they charged me another $200 for sensor replacement. The next time a check engine light appeared on the car’s cluster meter, I was not willing to spend $100 to decipher the code. Thus, I ordered an inexpensive code reader for $75 that can be easily connected to the car’s OBD. This reader gave me a code I deciphered online and figured out the issue without spending $100. Then I went to a local professional to replace the oxygen sensor. This saved me around $100 for deciphering the problem causing this light to blink.