When car dashboard lights come on, many people panic, usually because they don’t know what could be wrong. But don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 most common car problems and solutions so you know what you’re dealing with and how to solve it. CarMD, a manufacturer of electronic vehicle systems checks, examined over a million repairs in the U.S. and found these 5 problems accounted for about 30% of all repairs.
Here Are The Top 5 Most Common Car Problems and Solutions
This list includes common car problems and solutions related to a check engine light, and doesn’t include regular maintenance or collision repairs. With the right maintenance schedule, you can avoid many of these check engine light problems.
1. Faulty Oxygen Sensor
What is it? Oxygen sensors analyze your exhaust to determine if the right mixture of gasoline and oxygen is being delivered.
How bad is it? An oxygen sensor might be overexposed to heat or it might just wear out. However, a faulty sensor means the gas-oxygen mixture might be off, and this can cause serious damage if it’s not addressed.
What is the solution? This is a fairly common car problem and the solution is replacement, however preventative maintenance like regular oil changes and antifreeze checks will keep the exhaust from overheating the sensor.
How do I know? If you’re seeing bad gas mileage or your vehicle idles abnormally, your gas-oxygen mixture might be off, meaning your o2 sensor isn’t working. Note that these signs might be confused with signs you may need a muffler replacement.
2. Bad Catalytic Converter
What is it? The catalytic converter turns hazardous exhaust chemicals like carbon monoxide into less-harmful chemicals like carbon dioxide.
How bad is it? Catalytic converters are made to last the life of the vehicle and if it goes bad prematurely, it is a sign of a serious problem. Unfortunately, this is one of the more expensive common car problems and solutions.
What is the solution? Replacing the catalytic converter won’t do much good if the clog was caused by a different problem in the fuel system, exhaust system, or engine. Only solving the bigger issue will solve the problem.
How do I know? If your gas mileage has dropped, your car won’t accelerate, or your engine has stalled, the converter might be to blame.
3. Replacement Ignition Coils or Spark Plugs
What is it? The ignition coil and spark plugs are a part of the ignition system, delivering the electricity needed to ignite the air and fuel mix.
How bad is it? Spark plugs do wear out eventually, though damage to the ignition coil indicates a bigger problem. This issue should be addressed quickly to avoid other problems with the ignition system.
What is the solution? Spark plugs can be replaced without much trouble, though the ignition coil will be more difficult.
How do I know? If your vehicle is tough to start, idling abnormally, or misfiring, the spark plugs or ignition coil might be to blame.
4. Loose Fuel Cap
What is it? The cap on your gas tank is missing or loose.
How bad is it? Of the most common car problems and solutions, this is the simplest fix.
What is the solution? Simply replace the fuel cap (a very affordable part) or screw it on tighter.
How do I know? A sensor detects the fuel cap is missing or loose, and lights up the check-engine light. Besides the light or noticing that the fuel cap is missing, there’s no other way to tell.
5. Bad Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)
What is it? The MAF sensor measures the air flow into the engine, which keeps the mixture of fuel and air right.
How bad is it? This part should last the life of the vehicle, however it is delicate and can easily be contaminated. Usually a dirty air filter causes a malfunctioning MAF sensor.
What is the solution? Similar to the oxygen sensor, replacing the sensor itself won’t be effective without uncovering the reason it was contaminated. Examining the air flow system will help to solve the problem and regularly replacing air filters will help to prevent it.
How do I know? Similar to the oxygen sensor, problems with the MAF sensor will again cause fuel mixture problems, which means the vehicle will idle abnormally and get bad gas mileage. If the MAF sensor fails completely, the engine will stall.
Remember that a check engine light isn’t the only sign that your vehicle may be due for repairs. Things like brake pad replacements, muffler replacements, tire changes and rotations, and air filter changes won’t light up your check engine light, but they shouldn’t be ignored. These regular maintenance items will save you money on many of the most common car problems and solutions.
Do you think it's time for one of these 5 items to be checked out on your vehicle? Get in touch with H&H Mobil today!