4 Reasons Why Your Vehcile Check Engine Light May Come On

Nobody likes having to deal with car repairs, but fortunately, most vehicles are equipped with features that will let you know if engine trouble is on the horizon. The check engine light that is located on the dashboard of most cars and trucks may be alarming when you first notice it after it lights up, but paying attention to it can save you significant time, money, and stress. Postponing vehicle repairs and maintenance can be an expensive decision because mechanical problems will only worsen the more that you continue to drive. Following are four common reasons for your vehicle's check engine light to activate.

Loose Fuel Cap

This problem definitely has an easy fix -- simply tighten the fuel cap or purchase one that fits properly. Even though a loose gas cap won't cause your engine to malfunction, it's a good idea to tighten or replace it in order to prevent gas from evaporating.

Faulty Spark Plugs

This is another issue that can cause your check engine light to illuminate that has a relatively easy fix. A qualified mechanic can quickly and easily replace the spark plugs in your vehicle and check for other issues that might be preventing your vehicle from running as efficiently as possible. Changing the spark plugs is a routine part of a general tuneup and should be done on a regular basis.

Loose Battery Cables

Even if you haven't yet noticed a change in your car's performance, loose battery cables can prompt your car's check engine light to come on. This is yet another easy fix than can be quickly repaired simply by tightening the cables. However, keep in mind that the light may also come on as a sign that your battery or charging system is beginning to lose power for reasons other than a loose cable, such as a battery or alternator that is reaching the end of its life and needs to be replaced.

Faulty Catalytic Converters

A malfunctioning catalytic converter can cause your car to fail an emissions test in locations where these are required as a condition of vehicle registration, and may also cause vehicles to run hotter than usual as well as to use more fuel. These devices also help protect our environment from harmful carbon monoxide emissions by converting them into carbon dioxide. Catalytic converters generally become damaged due to failure to perform routine cleaning tasks.

Other conditions exist that will activate your vehicle's check engine light, so be certain to have it seen by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible after the light comes on.