Common Causes for Check Engine Light Warnings

check engine light

You get in your car, ready for the day. Only you look at the dashboard and notice your check engine light is on. This can lead to a lot of anxiety. What’s causing this to happen? Is it going to be expensive to fix? Reading on, you can learn about some of the most common causes for check engine light warnings. One thing is for sure: you should always get your check engine light checked out when it illuminates.

Check Engine Light in General

Check engine lights started becoming commonplace in the 1980’s. These “gizmos” have a love/hate relationship with drivers. On one hand they trigger a “yikes” reaction that may cost money and time. Yet, on the other hand, they can alert the owner of a problem that may just require a simple fix by qualified mechanical repair shop.


Bad Oxygen Sensor

A common cause for check engine light warnings is that you need to replace your oxygen sensor. This is a standard sensor that is found in cars manufactured after 1980, which is located in your car’s emission control system. This sensor makes sure that your car is running at its peak performance and ensuring that the engine is burning the proper amount of fuel.

The car will still run if this is the problem, however this means that you will burn more fuel than usual. This can also lead to damaged parts like spark plugs and your catalytic converter.


Gas Cap is Faulty or Loose

As silly as it may seem, sometimes the check engine light comes on for a simple reason of a loose or faulty gas cap. This is because the fuel vapors start leaking out of the gas tank, which confuses your car’s emissions system. As a result, your car won’t be as efficient as you would like it to be.

If your gas cap is loose, the fix is just as simple as tightening up your gas cap. If it’s damaged or otherwise faulty, you just need to buy a new one.


Failing Catalytic Converter

The purpose of a catalytic converter is to reduce your emissions by converting dangerous gases emitted by your car into harmless compounds. These usually last for as long as you own your car. This could also be a reason for your check engine light warning.

If you’ve noticed weird smells as well as decreased fuel efficiency and performance, this could be your problem.


Need to Replace Mass Airflow Sensor

You should be regularly getting your air filter serviced for your car. If this isn’t replaced properly, this could cause the mass airflow sensor to malfunction. This leads to issues like the car stalling, poor gas mileage, and more emissions coming from your car.


Bad Spark Plugs

As your spark plugs go bad, the wires can start misfiring, triggering the check engine light to come on. You can tell if a spark plug goes bad because as you accelerate your car, you may feel the car jolt. The good news is that if this is a problem, it’s a pretty inexpensive and cheap fix.



You should visit a qualified mechanic if you notice the check engine light as soon as possible. You could cause further damage to your car by ignoring this problem. A mechanic can diagnose your problem and fix it, allowing you to get back on the road.

Quality Assured Collision Center has been serving the Long Beach, CA community since 2004. We specialize in collision repair, body work, dent repair, car restoration, and mechanical work. We can offer towing, drop-off and pick-up and even perform a free 15-point inspection on your vehicle. As experts on all insurance situations, we will help guide you through the process and we work with all types of financing situations for those paying out of pocket.

Call us now or text us a picture of your vehicle to (562) 353-4071.