You’ve heard of the 6-point check if you’ve ever taken a driving test – that’s the process of looking at 6 key points around the car before you set off to ensure that your surroundings are clear.
Unfortunately, not everything will come up in your driving test. And just like the 6-point check before you set off, some things are necessary too. Your check engine light is something that you may have touched on, but until you’re in a situation where it’s flashing to show something’s wrong, you won’t have looked into it fully.
When your check engine light does come around to lighting up, you may experience a sinking feeling in your stomach. It’s never completely clear just what needs taking a look at when the check engine light does flash, so it’s important to learn just what makes it tick.
In most cases, it means a trip to the garage, as the reason behind it turning on could be anything from an unclosed petrol cap, to something more serious like a misfiring engine. After all, it’s never a good idea to leave your car without being serviced with a potential high-risk hazard. No matter how small the issue may turn out to be, always be on the safe side.
When you check engine light turns on, it could be any of these minor things. All of these are pretty inexpensive to change, but it’s paramount that these are maintained to avoid any larger costs in the future.
- Oxygen Sensor Failure
- Spark Plug Problems
- Vacuum Hose Leak
- Loose Petrol Cap
Take note that check engine lights don’t always flash – they can turn on statically in orange, yellow or amber depending on the car manufacturer. That’s when it’ll likely be a smaller issue like the in the list above. But when they do, that means that a catalytic converter-damaging condition is occurring. Luckily, you’ll be able to sense something slightly wrong about the handling of your car – the car will literally feel different inside it when you’re behind the wheel.
When the check engine light flashes and you feel the car shift to an unknown gait, stop at a safe place and turn the engine off as soon as you can. You don’t want to risk driving when your check engine light is flashing, even if you want to drive to the nearest repair garage to save money or time. Get your vehicle towed safely.
The irony is, the longer the engine’s on and you’re driving in this condition, the more damage you’ll incur. And that’ll drive up the price of any repair, and surely take much longer to fix.
So, what’s happening here? When your engine misfires and your check engine light starts to flash, it means that the engine is dumping unburned fuel into your vehicle’s exhaust system. In the worst-case scenario, it could start a fire. This is because as the vehicle’s exhaust system is being filled with unburned fuel, the temperature will begin to rise. And when you have an overheated catalytic converter it will be heavily impacted, with damages being a costly endeavour.
Why Does an Engine Misfire?
There are three potential reasons why your engine may misfire, and all mean that something has defected. In each case, you need to get your car towed to the repair garage, as each are as important as each other.
Your car could have an Ignition system defect, meaning that the spark coil to help a car engine start is faulty. This may also cause other problems like difficulty starting your engine, your exhaust backfiring, and even other basic costly issues like poor fuel economy. These are the least inexpensive to repair.
Fuel system defects concern your fuel pump. If this is faulty, you’ll have a hard time pumping fuel from the tank into the engine. Other reasons why you’ll need to get this fixed are to do with how this affects the driving experience – whining noises from the fuel tank, difficulty starting, and engine spluttering are a few side effects. Costing a little more than ignition system defects, these require slightly more attention.
Internal engine defects cost the most to repair as the engine is the heart of the car and will most likely result in your catalytic converter overheating. Instead of your car having difficulty starting, it won’t turn on at all. To indicate that this will come, your car may stall a few minutes beforehand. You’ll see much more pressing issues like smoke or steam billowing from the front, noises coming from the engine and will be abnormally loud along with knocking or vibrating.
If for any reason you feel doubtful in your diagnosis of what’s wrong despite the symptoms, it’s always best to seek expert help. If your check engine light is turned on statically, book an appointment as soon as you can, but the chances of it being a small issue are relatively high.
Even though it’s likely to be a small issue, the chances of it increasing in severity over time mean the longer you leave it, the more costly it will become. And that’s the same with when your check engine light flashes, too. The difference is, the initial costs are considerably higher, so leaving it will only cause more damage, and incur more costs. You don’t want to put yourself in more danger than you have to, which means always remembering to pull in safely and call for it to be towed to the nearest repair facility.