6 Reasons to Consider When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Things to Know About a Vehicle with The Check Engine Light On

The appearance of the check engine light on the dashboard is an unwelcome moment that many of us dread. It’s an anxiety building moment when you go over in your head every issue that might pop up and how much this may cost you. Your Check Engine Light will pop up yellow if it’s in need of service but still safe enough to drive on over to a service center. However if your engine light pops up and it’s red, pulling over and arranging for your vehicle to be towed to a service center is the ideal choice. It might cost a bit more, but driving with a red CEL (Check Engine Light) could result in severe engine damage and extremely unsafe driving conditions. It might not be what you had in mind, but getting your vehicle checked and serviced no matter what color the CEL is means you’re keeping you and other drivers around you safe by having your engine checked over. Here’s a helpful list of what might be going on, and some signs you can check for when this ominous light pops up. When you need your next engine service, visit us here at Nate Wade Subaru and have our skilled technicians take a look at your ride here in Salt Lake City, UT.

6. System Fault with EVAP

The evaporation system inside most modern vehicles is designed with a canister of activated charcoal inside to capture gasoline fumes before sending them safely back through the engine. If there is an issue with the evaporation canister in this system, or any other component, then your check engine light should click on. Before you spend money on the repair, it's good to know if what you're buying is worthwhile for the issue. Typically this problem can be resolved by replacing the canister, and the best way to check what the issue is would be to have your Subaru CEL codes read by a Subaru expert like the ones here at our service center.

5. Check the Mass Air Sensor

Nowadays having a computer inside your ride to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently is the norm. The computer operates by reading a wide range of codes for your sensors. Codes from these sensors are often to blame for the CEL coming on, and your engine’s air intake sensor is a common one that needs attention the higher your mileage is on your vehicle. The MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor reads how much air is entering the engine and relays it to the computer. Something minor like an expired engine air filter can trip a code for this sensor and other times the MAF trips itself when there’s an issue. No matter what caused it, it’s a good idea to not drive for long after the sensor is tripped without having your vehicle checked.

Mechanic Running Car Diagnostics

4. Sensor for Coolant Temperature

To keep your vehicle running well, the computer inside your ride needs to read the engine’s temperature. This information influences how the computer runs things, and it is crucial to alerting you when your engine is about to or has overheated. If this sensor throws a code and makes the CEL pop up, you might not get an alert about your engine overheating so much as notice the process happening. When the engine overheats it's hard to get it to run well or at all again without service.

3. Loosened Gas Cap

A loose gas cap might seem like a minor thing, but if the cap isn’t properly tightened and sealed it can trick the computer into thinking there’s an issue with the EVAP system and trip the CEL on your dashboard. If the sensor turns on and you recently got gas or dropped the gas cap, you might double check that the cap is sealed and on tight. If there’s a crack you might need to replace it. This is an easy check to see if your CEL notice is just a minor issue instead of a bigger ordeal.

Check Engine Light

2. System Fault with the Ignition

The modern design of Subaru engines, including the elite BOXER® engines, are an advanced feat of engineering with a sophisticated ignition system. There’s a surprising amount that goes into just making sure each spark plug fires properly and with precision. With so many working components there’s loads of reasons your ignition system can turn on the CEL, from ignition coils to wires, the spark plugs themselves and beyond. Since your engine could die as a result of this issue, ignition problems usually show up as a red check engine light.

1. The O2 Sensors

The most popular reason our Subaru experts see a CEL light pop on when you bring your vehicle for a check in at our dealership is due to the O2 sensors, which all modern vehicles are equipped with in the exhaust system. These help to measure the exhaust gasses and oxygen levels within them, which tells the computer what it needs to determine the correct mixture of air and fuel. It’s pretty common nowadays for your vehicle to have at least two O2 sensors. One is located before the catalytic converter to help tell the computer what it needs to do. The other O2 sensor is found behind that catalytic converter to provide equally important information regarding the emissions systems inside your ride. We recommend letting only factory-trained experts handle these tricky and all-important O2 sensors, such as the technicians right here at Nate Wade Subaru.

Learn More About Your Subaru

• Discover 4 reasons vehicles overheat in traffic.
• Here are 4 reasons your bright headlights may be working while your low beams aren't.
• Find out what the different colors of smoke from your vehicle's tailpipe may mean.
• Learn 5 reasons why the carpet in your vehicle may be wet.
• Click here to view a list of the various Subaru warning and indicator lights that may show up on your dash display.
• Go here to schedule service for you Subaru.
• In a hurry? Learn about our Subaru Express Service option.
• Click here to find out if there are any recall notices out for your Subaru vehicle.


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