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The bane of every car owner’s existence is the check-engine light. For a non-professional, it can be difficult to tell whether the symbol is indicating a quick fix or something more severe. First of all, do not panic. While the check-engine light is a head-scratcher for most people, professionals have the tools necessary to diagnose and fix the problem.
For those located around Sterling VA or Chantilly, VA, Casey’s could be the car repair shop that suits your automotive needs. Here are five steps you can take to fix the problem:
1. Recognize if the problem is immediate
If the icon on your dash is blinking, or there is a noticeable change in the way your car runs—something serious is happening. It could be an engine misfire causing damage to your catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is a component of the car that converts harmful compounds into less harmful ones, which get released as exhaust. Once damaged, fixing it is a major repair and will cost you time and money.
If your check engine light turns on while driving, pull over and shut off your vehicle when it is safe to do so. You should avoid driving the vehicle to prevent making it worse. Have the car towed to your local car repair shop as soon as possible.
2. Replace oxygen sensor
The check engine light could be on because of a faulty oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor monitors how much fuel is being burned. When not working properly, this can cause your engine to burn fuel at a higher rate than usual, reducing gas mileage and increasing emissions. With time, it can cause damage to your spark plugs and catalytic converter. If your check engine light is on, have a professional check—and replace, if needed—your oxygen sensor.
3. Replace mass air flow sensor
Like the oxygen sensor, the mass air flow sensor (MAF), measures the usage of fuel. It does so by detecting the amount of air that goes into the engine. The MAF can fail because the air filter was not installed correctly, or not replaced on a regular basis. While a car can run with a faulty MAF for a few weeks, ignoring the problem will lead to frequent stalling-out and lower gas-mileage.
4. Tighten your gas cap
If you’re lucky, the check engine light is on for this easy-to-fix reason. If the car is running smoothly and you cannot detect any other causes of your check engine light, it could mean the gas cap is not on tight enough. A loose or faulty gas cap can cause the car to lose gas through evaporation, leading to more gas-station trips and costing you money.
5. Take your vehicle to a professional
While it can be tempting to take repairs into your own hands, making a mistake or missing something important will be more expensive in the long-run. When it comes to part replacement and repairs, going to a professional is your best bet. For folks located in Northern Virginia, taking your vehicle in Casey’s Automotive will guarantee family-friendly service and expert repairs.
Get Back on the Road Fast with Casey’s Automotive
Remember: hindsight is 20/20. It is less expensive to do maintenance than it is to perform a repair. Casey’s Automotive is a car repair shop in Sterling VA and Chantilly VA that has a range of services available, including oil changes, brakes, tires, and much more to help prevent engine failures and keep that check-engine light off for good. Don’t wait! If you think something is wrong, get it checked as soon as possible. Schedule your appointment online now!