Owning an automobile does not mean you suddenly need to become a car expert. In fact, there is no reason for you to do your own repair work if you are not comfortable doing so. It is, however, a good idea to know how to diagnose what might be causing your automobile to have problems. This way you can make sure you avoid shady auto repair shops that charge you for service repairs your vehicle didn't need. Fortunately, there is no reason to panic just because your check engine light came on because the problem could be a quick and easy fix.
The Engine Won't Start
When your engine will not start it may or may not be accompanied by a check engine light. This depends on whether or not the issue is with the battery. If the battery is low or discharged, the automobile is not going to have enough power to turn the check engine light on. Other common reasons an engine will not turn on at all include:
- Corroded battery cables
- Loose battery cables
- Failure of the ignition switch
- Clogged fuel filter
- Defective fuel pump
An auto repair shop may be able to plug a code reader into the engine of your vehicle to narrow down the culprit. The code reader will spit out an error code that the shop can use to determine what area of the automobile is causing the engine troubles. Technically, this is the best first step to take any time the check engine light comes on or the engine stops working altogether. It will significantly narrow the number of parts to be inspected.
A Broken Oxygen Sensor
The oxygen sensor keeps track of how much unburned oxygen is still sitting in your automobile's exhaust. This tells the vehicle how much fuel it needs to burn in order to move. When the oxygen sensor is not working properly, it will cripple your gas mileage. If your check engine light has come on and your gas mileage is diminishing, it is possible your oxygen sensor needs replaced.
Over a period of time, your oxygen sensor will get splashed with oil and ash, which reduce the sensor's ability to monitor the oxygen and fuel levels. In addition to increasing the amount of money you spend on gas, a broke oxygen sensor will eventually cause your catalytic convertor to break. The catalytic convertor is one of the more expensive parts on any vehicle.
The best thing you can do for your automobile is take it to a shop or auto parts store and have a code reader hooked to it to narrow down the possible culprit. Then, you can decide how serious the problem is and how soon you need to come up with the money to get it fixed.
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