Check Engine Light

We’ve probably all had to deal with it at some point in our lives – the check engine light suddenly turning on. The check engine light is a particularly annoying automotive issue because the reason for it to light up can be any one of a number of causes, from the trivial to a serious issue requiring extensive  BMW repairs and costs.

That uncertainty can lead to a feeling of helplessness, especially if you’re not familiar with the common reasons the check engine light can turn on and what it means for your BMW. Getting acquainted with some of the most likely issues will allow you to diagnose certain causes and will allow you to know when it’s necessary to bring your car in for service.

Common Reasons for the Check Engine Light

If your BMW’s check engine light is on, it’s most likely due to one of a few common issues. These issues range from something as simple as a loose gas cap to a problem with the catalytic converter. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear what the root cause for the check engine light is in all cases, but knowing these most common causes can give you a starting point. It is always best to take your car in to have it checked.

A Loose, Damaged or Missing Gas Cap

The best case scenario for your check engine light turning on is an issue with your gas cap. That’s because in some cases you simply need to tighten the gas cap, or at worst you need to replace the gas cap.
This should always be your first step if the check engine light goes on – take a look at the gas cap, tighten it securely and see if the light turns off. If you do not see an immediate change bring your vehicle in to have it checked.

Issues with the Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor regulates the mix of fuel and oxygen in your engine, and over time can become compromised by an accumulation of ash. Eventually, its effectiveness decreases and the check engine light may turn on.

Please note that if the oxygen sensor is the cause of the check engine light, it’s important to get it in for service as soon as possible. Driving for prolonged stretches with a faulty oxygen sensor will do damage to your catalytic converter, which is one of the more costly auto repairs.

Problems with the Mass Airflow Sensor

The mass airflow sensor analyzes airflow over the engine and controls fuel levels within the engine. Air filters keep grime and debris from accumulating within the mass airflow sensor, but an improperly installed or worn out air filter won’t do its job properly. This can lead to the mass airflow sensor being damaged or compromised.
The best way to make sure you don’t run into problems with the mass airflow sensor is to make sure to replace your air filters at least once each year.

Issues with Spark Plus and Wires

The spark plug is responsible for starting the engine’s combustion, and a worn out spark plug may begin to misfire. This is a repair you want to make sooner rather than later, as a bad spark plug will lead to poor fuel economy and acceleration while also contributing to increased engine wear over time.

Issues with Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is responsible for breaking down toxic gasses within exhaust into safer compounds. Without a fully functioning catalytic converter, your BMW will experience issues ranging from poor gas mileage to sluggish acceleration, and your car will also fail any emissions test.
Replacing the catalytic converter can be price, and it represents one of the worst case scenario of a check engine light coming on. It’s worth noting that one of the most common causes of a broken catalytic converter are related to driving the car for prolonged stretches while experiencing some of the other issues we’ve discussed. Dealing promptly with the check engine light is the best way to avoid having to replace the catalytic converter.

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Diagnosing and Fixing Check Engine Light Issues

If you’re fortunate, simply tightening your gas cap may turn off the check engine light.

Otherwise, you’ll probably need to bring your BMW in for service, and your chances of escaping without a high repair bill increases if you bring the car in promptly.

Dealer Service Alternative offers service at the level of the dealership, which means we have the diagnostic tools to quickly zero in on your problem and trained technicians able to fix it and get you back out on the road as soon as possible. Our prices are more than competitive, and we specialize in BMW repairs.
If your check engine light is on, consider bringing your BMW in to Dealer Service Alternative as soon as you’re able.

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