Why is the engine light on?

There is an indicator light on your dashboard that will illuminate when there is a problem and it says “check engine”.  It is a vague warning that there is something not quite right.  It could be simple or it could be serious.  You won’t know until you check it out.  You can buy a little computer for about $40 that can read codes and report the problems your car has.  More sophisticated cars and more complex problems will require a commercial unit not available to most regular users.

Oxygen Sensor

There are sensors installed to monitor the amount of oxygen (O2).  An engine needs exact ratios of air and fuel.  If those ratios are not correct, you will get a warning.  Malfunctions in the amounts of air and fuel mean that you are not getting the most out of the gasoline you are paying for and, more importantly, your engine will not perform well.

Ignition coil

Ignition coils light the spark plugs from the electric current generated by the battery.  If the spark plugs don’t work correctly, the power flow is disrupted.  That could mean stress on the engine and an engine not starting when you want it to.

Spark plugs and wires

If the electrical system of the engine is not in good shape, you will notice pings and misses, the engine will sound rough while idling, and power surges or losses.  None of this is good for the performance of the engine.  If any of this persists, the catalytic converter will become damaged.  The bottom line is some very expensive repairs.  Getting the problem taken care of quickly can avert some major problems.

Mass airflow sensor

This device measures the air that comes into the engine and then calculates the amount of fuel needed.  If the mass air flow sensor does not work correctly, the Engine Control Unit won’t deliver the appropriate amount of fuel to the engine.  Not only will fuel efficiency be reduced, but the engine won’t work at its best.

The evaporative emission control system

EVAP keeps the gasoline vapours from the gas tank and the fuel system from leaking.  Some of the causes are faulty gas caps, bad valves, and leaking vacuum hoses or vents.  Breathing those fumes that seep into the interior of the car, can be injurious to one’s health.

Ports and valve exhaust gas recirculation

EGS helps the car or truck control its emissions.  Without it you will have engine misfires, jerks, and rough idling.  The solution is usually to clean out clogs and dirt accumulation.

Battery and charging

The car’s computer system monitors the voltage in the battery and electrical system.  If there is something wrong, the check engine light will come on.  Car batteries have a limited life span and this is a good warning to check the expiration date to see if it needs replacement.  The bottom line is if you see a check engine light, take your vehicle to a reputable auto repair shop.  They will be able to plug in a device and see what the computer has detected as wrong.  Ignoring the light may result in very serious consequences.  Often times the cars we tow had their check engine light come on and the vehicle wouldn’t drive or turn on.  Give us a call 647-812-1477 and we will tow you and your vehicle to the garage you choose and nowhere else.