What does Check Engine mean?
Most of the new cars, that work with several electronic systems, have located in the part of the front panel, next to the odometer or the speedometer, an indicator that says Check Engine and that lights up when the diagnostic system on board (OBD by its detects that something is wrong with the engine operation or when some system of the car performs outside of normal ranges.
It can also appear with the words “service engine soon” or with an engine icon and is definitely a warning for the driver to check his vehicle and fix the fault as soon as possible.
Why does the Check Engine light come on?
There are various reasons why this indicator lights up, some minor and others serious, for example, it may be an indication that the gas cap is loose or even some malfunction of the gas regulation system, such as a problem in the spark plugs or any obstruction in the injectors.
Although motorsports experts are of the opinion that when the light is flashing in current car models it is really an emergency of the vehicle’s emission system, such as that a certain amount of unburned fuel is leaking to the exhaust and where it can be damaging the catalytic converter, something that is expensive to repair.
When the light of this indicator comes on it does not mean that the vehicle is going to collapse or suddenly stop following the march, but it is a sign that a fault can be enlarged if it is allowed to pass and generate a greater problem for the driver if it is not driven the unit to be checked in an agency or auto repair shop.
Some of the most common possible situations that cause the Check Engine light to come on are as follows:
- Oxygen (O2) Sensor Needs Replacement
The oxygen sensor measures the amount of this element present in the emissions at the time of combustion. Failure to replace the engine consumes more gasoline than required, fuel efficiency is reduced by up to 40%, and spark plugs and catalytic converter may be damaged.
- The gas tank cap is not closed properly
It may be improperly adjusted, damaged or even that when filling the tank at the gas station the cap has not been put on. This object helps to maintain the pressure inside the tank and prevents gasoline vapors from being released into the atmosphere, if it is not repositioned properly, the fuel levels in the unit drop by evaporation.
- Catalytic converter problems
The machine reduces the emissions of polluting gases and its function is to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and water vapor. When the car fails, its power decreases, gas consumption increases and the unit can overheat causing greater damage. If the converter is not exchanged for another, the vehicle will increase harmful gas emissions and prevent the driver from complying with environmental regulations required by law, such as passing vehicle verification.
- Air flow sensor is faulty
It measures the amount of air the engine breathes and determines how much gasoline the engine needs to run effectively. The Check Engine light could come on when the unit is damaged and if it is not replaced it may affect the catalytic converter or spark plugs. Also the car can consume more gasoline than normal and cause the gear to stop suddenly.
- Spark plugs need to be changed
The spark plugs are responsible for mixing the air and gasoline of the car to activate the combustion of the engine. Sometimes not only the spark plugs but the spark plug wire must also be replaced, these are responsible for carrying the current from the ignition coils to the spark plugs, thus generating the spark that produces combustion. When the Check Engine legend comes on due to a faulty spark plug it causes a loss of engine power, the catalytic converter can be clogged.
In addition, the ignition coils and the oxygen sensor can be damaged.
What should be done if the Check Engine light comes on?
It depends on how the light of this marker behaves:
- If it turns on for a while and then turns off: it means that it is a temporary failure in the system, but it implies checking the vehicle in the short term
- If it stays on: It is important to take the car to a workshop as soon as possible to obtain a diagnosis of the fault, because it is very likely that there is a higher consumption of gasoline than usual and it is negatively affecting the performance of the engine.
- If it is intermittent but constant: It is a serious problem and it should be checked as soon as possible, this anomaly can destroy the current converter and cause a fire. If there is a garage nearby, the car should be checked out immediately and if this is not possible, it is recommended to turn off the vehicle and tow it away.
The following tips can also be followed if the Check Engine light comes on:
- Consult the user manual. All vehicles have an owner’s manual detailing the functions and operation of the unit, so with this brochure you can get an idea of why the legend came on and what should be done .
- Take the car to a trusted mechanic so that the error recorded by the OBD can be read and the problem solved.
- It is also recommended to check the dashboard for gauges that indicate if the oil is low or the engine is overheating. This may mean that the car has to be stopped and the drive has to be checked as soon as possible.
- In some cars if the color of the light is yellow it means that the problem is investigated, but if it is red it is imperative to stop the car to avoid further damage.
Auto Insurance Covers Mechanical Failures
There are some Comprehensive policies in the insurance market that allow you to add a specialized auto coverage to cover the parts and labor necessary for a correct repair of the car when there is an unforeseen mechanical, electrical or electronic failure regardless of the cause.
This protection is generally additional to the insurance package contracted, that is, it is acquired at an extra cost to the annual premium to be paid and some breakdowns that it covers are the following:
- Wear and tear from normal vehicle use on: belts, exhaust, shock absorbers, clutch, brake pads, discs, batteries, bulbs, fuses, spark plugs, catalytic converters, air filter cartridges, oil; brushes.
- Loss of lubricants, coolants, brake fluids and other additives due to wear or damage.
- Breakage of audiovisual, telephone and multimedia equipment and components, as well as alarms and cracks in windows and headlights, gear levers, seat belts and pedals.
- Negligence or misuse of the vehicle and the elements damaged by false maneuvering, accident, theft, fire, etc.
These covered risks depend on the insurance company that is contracted, therefore it is important that before contracting coverage is compared with more than three companies, because this way the best product is acquired at the best price.
Finding out about car coverage in the Mexican market can be overwhelming and time consuming due to the wide variety that exist, however, it is now easy and safe with the help of online insurance comparators such as Rastreator. In less than two minutes, coverage is quoted and compared at no cost to the user, guaranteeing the finding of the most complete and economical auto insurance.