"The vehicle will run fine, but it will inject more fuel and you'll buy it more often,"
Many of us, drivers, doesn't know what this light means when it starts to actually light in our dashboards. 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 a major trouble brewing in your catalytic converter.
Here is a compiled list of to do's when the "light" is encountered from CarMD.com, a seller of do-it-yourself tools to help you diagnose problems with your car. The light may not look so serious but 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 or there really is a problem with your car already that needs prompt attention.
Here's the list:
- 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. Replacing the sensor usually costs less than Php 10,000.
- 2.Inspect for a loose or cracked gas cap. If you don't tighten the gas cap enough, or if it's broken, gas can evaporate into the air, wasting fuel. A new gas cap typically costs less than Php 500.
- 3. Replace the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter reduces toxic emissions and can be an expensive repair that could reach to as much as Php80,000. Typically, this part won't fail unless you repeatedly ignore problems with faulty oxygen sensors or spark plugs. So its ranking suggests a lot of routine repairs aren't getting done.
- 4. Replace the mass air flow sensor. This device measures air coming into the engine. Problems here can be prevented by changing the air filter when you have your oil changed - for a cost of about Php1000. If you don't, and dust builds up on the sensor, you could be in for a Php20,000 repair.
- 5. Replace the spark plugs. Changing spark plugs typically costs cheaper if you do it yourself. Again, if not replaced, damaged spark plugs can cause the engine to misfire and lead to expensive catalytic converter problems.
Generally, if the "check engine" light comes on you can safely drive the car until you are able to stop and check the gas cap or take it in for servicing in the nearest auto shop available. If the light is flashing, however, the problem is probably serious and you may do mechanical damage to your car by continuing to drive. Guys driving is a skill, so let's not be stupid. When any of the warning lights are on, and you don't know what it is, consult someone else who does. Drive safe!