The O2 sensor measures your vehicle's exhaust system for unburned oxygen. If you do not take your car in for service when the light turns on, the engine will burn more fuel than it needs. This affects your fuel economy and your wallet, as you get fewer miles to each gallon of gas. A faulty O2 sensor can also damage your catalytic converter and spark plugs, adding more cost to your automotive repair needs.
Many people are surprised to learn that a loose, damaged or lost gas cap causes the check engine light to turn on. The gas cap keeps your vehicle's fuel system sealed, maintains pressure in the fuel tank and prevents hydrocarbons from releasing into the atmosphere, as a critical part of the EVAP system. If you do not replace this cap, some of your gas will leak into the environment through evaporation. This problem also leads to more trips to the gas pump and more money pulled out of your wallet.
As part of your evaporative emission control system (EVAP), your catalytic converter turns harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. This protects the environment. But if you neglect regular maintenance, your catalytic converter can break down and trigger your check engine light to turn on.
Another problem that can trigger the light is a purge valve malfunction. This part also plays a big role in emission control, as part of the EVAP system.
When these parts need replacing, your vehicle will not pass emissions testing for NC inspection. Its performance and fuel economy also suffer, with the engine running at a hotter temperature.
Another possible problem causing the check engine light to turn on is a faulty mass airflow sensor (MAF). This sensor measures air entry into the engine to regulate the amount of fuel used by the engine. If you do not replace the MAF sensor when needed, you can damage your spark plugs, catalytic converter or 02 sensors. A faulty MAF sensor also reduces your car's fuel economy and performance.
Spark plugs work as part of your vehicle's electrical system to create a spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Plug wires transfer this spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. If you do not replace faulty spark plugs or wires, your catalytic converter can clog. You can also have damage to your vehicle's ignition coils and O2 sensors. These parts affect engine performance and fuel economy, too.
Another light much like the check engine light, but indicating issues with a specific part, is for your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). If your vehicle has this light, you need to have your tire pressure checked at Creech Auto Repair. At other times, the TPMS sensor itself is faulty and triggers the TPMS light.