Can an Oil Change Cause a Check Engine Light?
It’s a frustrating sight. When the check engine light comes on, you know you need to get your car into a mechanic as soon as possible. These lights can signal something serious or something as simple as a loose gas cap. Regardless, diagnosing the problem is key.
One thing that won’t trigger a check engine light: a recent oil change that was done correctly.
Oil changes are essential maintenance for your car but it won’t do anything that could trigger your check engine light to come on. If you notice the light after an oil change, something else is wrong.
Your mechanic has the necessary parts to run tests and get to the bottom of what’s wrong. Five of the most common things we see from check engine lights are:
1. The Oxygen Sensor Needs to be Replaced
Your oxygen sensor makes sure your car is burning fuel efficiently. If it’s faulty, you’re not getting the information you need, which could cause you to waste precious dollars in gas bills.
When the check engine light is illuminated because of an oxygen sensor, you’ll need to determine which one is faulty. There are anywhere between two and four sensors in your car. The computer at your mechanic will find the one that needs to be fixed.
Replacing an oxygen sensor quickly is ideal. It’s also the cheapest solution for you. Without doing so, you risk your catalytic convertor breaking down, potentially costing you thousands of dollars.
2. The Catalytic Converter
If the catalytic convertor goes out, you’ll also see the check engine light come on. This part reduces exhaust gases by turning harmful fumes into less pollutant air. If it’s failing, you’ll know because you won’t be able to accelerate as fast as you used to.
These are expensive parts to replace. The best way to keep them in good working order is to keep your car well maintained.
3. Loose Gas Cap
Cracked or loose gas caps might not seem like a culprit, but they can wreak major havoc on your fuel economy. In fact, something as simple as a loose gas cap can throw an entire system off. Although this isn’t particularly threatening to your car’s health, it can cost you quite a bit of money in gas and make it harder for you to determine if something major is going on with your car.
4. Spark Plugs
Your spark plugs are used to create the spark needed in the combustion chamber to start your car. If the plugs are misfiring, they’re failing.
Spark plugs, like any car part, can fail over time. We recommend replacing them every 100,000 miles. Your car will run better and you won’t be hassled by the pesky check engine light.
5. Airflow Sensors
Similar to an oxygen sensor, these car parts let you know if you have the right amount of fuel streaming through the engine based on air flow. If it’s not working correctly, your car have poorer gas mileage, emit more emissions and/or stall.
Replacing these sensors isn’t hard but the parts can be expensive. Replacing your air filter annually will help keep your airflow sensors in proper working order.