It’s one of the worst feelings for any responsible car owner. You’re driving down the road, minding your own business and enjoying the ride when suddenly your check engine light illuminates, at best inconveniencing you and at worst causing you to become stricken with panic!


While a check engine light setting can be unpleasant, the fact is that this nifty feature is designed to help clue you in on early warning signs of wear or equipment failure before disaster strikes. 


At Brian Hoskins Ford, we prioritize the safety and convenience of our customers, and we want to ensure that you understand how your ride communicates with you.. That’s why we’ve listed the five most common reasons your engine light may decide to come on when you’re least expecting it.

Failing O2 Sensor 

Did you know your car has an oxygen sensor that monitors unburned oxygen inside its exhaust system? It’s true! This sensor’s purpose is to manage fuel mixture and ensure that your car isn’t running too rich or too lean.


When this sensor begins to fail, your car may begin idling at a higher RPM in addition to running a bit rough. OVer time, O2 sensors are exposed to the elements, and eventually they may deteriorate. When this happens, it is likely to trigger the Check Engine light.

Burnt-Out Spark Plugs 

Spark plugs are basically the “conductor” of the engine. These plugs provide the necessary spark that ignites your fuel and creates engine power. Inside the chamber, the gap between the ends of each plug is wide enough to allow electricity to pass through, giving your ignition system the proper voltage.


As the spark plug ages, it begins to wear, and the gap becomes less effective. This may cause misfiring, loss of power, and reduce your gas mileage. Eventually, plug wear can become significant enough to trigger the Check Engine light.

Catalytic Converter Failure 

In order to reduce vehicle emissions, catalytic converters create an oxidizing reaction that lessen the effect that your car’s pollutants can have on the atmosphere. Over the years, this part has become more integrated with an engine’s management system, allowing more efficiency and a reduction in wear.


Nevertheless, several factors can cause a catalytic converter system to wear down, including antifreeze and fuel leaks, faulty O2 sensors, structural damage, and worn spark plugs. When your catalytic converter stops working at peak efficiency, it may cause the Check Engine light to illuminate.

Leaking Vacuum Hoses 

Vacuum hoses within your vehicle act as a release valve. They take pressure buildup from certain engine components to allow for more smooth fuel combustion and enhanced power. 


Like other delicate engine parts, these hoses are susceptible to elements like heat, dirt, and debris. When a hose breaks or wears down, your car may begin to perform sluggishly and misfire.


Most modern cars include their own separate hose sensor that detects any drops in pressure, but for other vehicles, the classic Check Engine light will suffice. 

A Loose Gas Cap

Believe it or not, the panic-inducing Check Engine light can even be triggered by issues as minor as a loose or ill-fitting gas cap. Because your gas cap forms a perfect seal on your vehicle’s fuel tank, a loose cap can be hazardous on the rare occasion. 


A fuel level sensor that monitors this area can detect escaping vapors from gasoline, and send a message to your car’s brain that tells it to warn you of the issue. In turn, this causes your Check Engine light to come on.


If you are experiencing recurring issues with your Check Engine light, it could be indicative of a larger problem that may require professional maintenance.

To schedule your next service appointment with the experienced professionals at Brian Hoskins Ford, don’t hesitate to contact us online, by phone, or in person at our Coatesville dealership today!
Categories: Service, Parts