How Long Do You Ignore Your Check Engine Light?
I give Courtlin a hard time about her car troubles, but I'll admit something about my own vehicle right now. I was driving to Iowa City and back over the weekend. The car I drive, a 2014 Hyundai Tucson, doesn't get many long trips on the interstate. As I was driving back to Cedar Rapids, I saw it pop on. The dreaded check engine light. Now, it wasn't flashing, which I knew meant the problem was urgent. But how bad was the news going to be?
A new study found that the average person will wait 9 days after seeing that light pop on before taking their vehicle in to see what is wrong. Mine happened on Saturday, and to be fair, it did go off the very next day. That being said, I still need to have it looked at to find out what made it pop on in the first place. Now just because your check engine light comes on doesn't mean the worst for your car. Now i the light is flashing, then it may indicate a more serious problem.
So what could cause your check engine light to come on? Here are some very common causes.
- Loose Gas Cap - Your gas cap ensures that your gas tank is properly sealed and pressure is maintained in the tank. If it isn't on tight or happens to be cracked, this could be the reason your light came on. Secure the cap again, and the turn your vehicle off and on to see if the light goes off.
- Oxygen Sensor - If you notice your fuel economy is off and your check engine light comes on, it could be a failing oxygen sensor. I can't tell you how many of these I've had go bad. Yes, you can still drive with one bad, but it will need replaced as it is vital to the exhaust and emissions system of your car.
- Catalytic Converter - If this is failing, it is likely because you ignored several other issues. Other systems that work with your catalytic converter include spark plugs and wires, and yes, those oxygen sensors.
The bottom line is that a check engine light doesn't always spell disaster. But it can if you don't have it check out soon by a trusted mechanic!