Diagnostics for Check Engine Light

Modern cars are more complex than ever before. If the days of burying your head under the hood of your car in your driveway are not completely over, they do seem to be fewer and farther between.  One of the best examples of modern cars’ new complexity is the check engine light.  When that light begins to shine, many people begin to worry.  But because the check engine light can communicate dozens, if not hundreds, of possible engine issues, it is important to have your car serviced by a reliable and trustworthy auto repair shop.  St. Paul Automotive works hard to establish trust in our customers by providing reliable diagnostics when your check engine light comes on.

Possible Causes for Check Engine Light

We have the diagnostic tools to accurately read the indications of the check engine light and the expertise to fix whatever problem it is indicating.  When your light comes on, the best way to respond is to bring it into our shop.  The chances are good that it points to a simple problem requiring an easy solution.  If the problem is more serious, our diagnostics will identify the problem and we will confer with you about the best means of proceeding.  Below are some common reasons why a check engine light comes on.

  1. Loose gas cap.  One simple explanation is if your gas cap is loose, damaged, or missing altogether, the pressure inside your fuel tank will be compromised, causing the check engine light to come on.
  2. Your oxygen sensor is damaged and needs to be replaced.  This device measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust system. A damaged sensor will cause the car to burn more fuel than it would otherwise need to and significantly decrease fuel efficiency.  If neglected for too long, a bad O2 sensor can damage spark plugs and the catalytic converter, which are more serious issues.
  3. The catalytic converter is compromised and needs to be replaced.  If the catalytic converter is damaged, your car will not pass its emissions test and your car will run at a higher temperature.  A bad catalytic converter is usually caused by neglecting the car’s maintenance schedule.
  4. The Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) may be damaged or faulty.  This device determines how much fuel is needed to ensure that your engine runs efficiently by measuring the amount of air entering the engine.  If neglected, a faulty MAF can cause damage to your spark plugs, the catalytic converter, and/or the oxygen sensor.
  5. Spark plugs and plug wires.  If your plugs and wires are damaged, the mixture of air and fuel in the combustion change will be affected.  If the wires are damaged, the spark from the ignition coil to the plugs themselves will be affected.  You will likely experience reduced performance of your car and reduced fuel efficiency.

Experienced Auto Repair Shop

These are just a few of the more common reasons your check engine light may come on.  The other many reasons can indicate more or less serious issues.  The crew at St. Paul Automotive can determine the origin of your vehicle’s problem and make all necessary repairs. If your check engine light comes on, call us at (651) 298-0956 to schedule an appointment.