Ownership Here's What It Will Cost If Your Car's 'Check Engine' Light Stays On

23:55  22 may  2017
23:55  22 may  2017 Source:   Forbes

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Shutterstock. One of a Times Square-like array of instrument panel lights that flash on briefly when your car starts – and it ' s sure to cost you money if it stays on – is the “ check engine ” icon. For the uninitiated, it ’ s a symbol that looks like the profile of a car engine (circa 1965)

If the check engine light comes on and stays on , however, that' s an indication of a problem that could be serious. Taking your car into a shop will cost you around 0 depending Based on my costly experience, here ’ s what to do when your check engine light illuminates.

  Here's What It Will Cost If Your Car's 'Check Engine' Light Stays On © Provided by Forbes Media LLC

One of a Times Square-like array of instrument panel lights that flash on briefly when your car starts – and it’s sure to cost you money if it stays on – is the “check engine” icon. For the uninitiated, it’s a symbol that looks like the profile of a car engine (circa 1965), and can signal any of a number of problems both large and small, most of which have to do with the vehicle’s emissions system.

Research

Research

The kicker is that check engine light is often easy to ignore, as a vehicle may not exhibit specific symptoms of a particular problem, but it’s always prudent to take Old Reliable into the shop to have a mechanic investigate and solve the underlying issue before it snowballs into a much costlier repair, or at the least causes your car to fail its next emissions test.

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Here ' s What It Will Cost If Your Car ' s ' Check Engine ' Light Stays On . Forbes - 2d Science - Tech. Share. It can signal an issue as minor as a loose gas cap or as major as complete engine failure. Either way it ’s not to be ignored. Shutterstock.

It can signal an issue as minor as a loose gas cap or as major as complete engine failure. Either way it ’ s not to be ignored. Stay informed of trending topics. Signup for our email newsletter.

According to the 2017 Vehicle Health Index compiled by the automotive diagnostic website CarMD in Irvine, CA, the average cost to resolve an indicated check engine light issue is $398 including parts and labor, which is 2.7% higher this year than it was in 2016. The cheapest problem to fix is to tighten a loose gas cap (free) or have a defective one replaced for an average $16. Among the costliest common repairs is to replace the car’s catalytic converter at an estimated $1,190 or more.

That’s still affordable compared to the most expensive check engine light issues noted in the 2017 Vehicle Health Index that range from “replace cylinder head assembly and spark plugs” at an average $2,493 to the budget busting, “replace engine” at a whopping $7,124. Fear not, however, the five costliest check engine fixes combined account for less than 1% of the more than 5 million repairs reported to and validated by CarMD’s network.

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Here ’ s a look at the five most common check engine light -related problems and the average cost to have them repaired – including parts and labor Tighten Or Replace Fuel Cap: The first thing you should do if your car or truck’ s check engine light stays on is to ensure the vehicle’ s gas cap is

One of a Times Square-like array of instrument panel lights that flash on briefly when your car starts – and it ’ s sure to cost you money if it stays on – is the Here ’ s a look at the five most common check engine light -related problems and the average cost to have them repaired – including parts and

“While check engine issues can occur on any age vehicle at any time for many different reasons, this report reminds owners to be vigilant with their maintenance routines and to be prepared for the possibility of a check engine light repair,” says CarMD’s technical director David Rich. “When vehicles are properly maintained, they tend to experience fewer check engine light problems than those whose owners put off scheduled maintenance and small repairs.”

Of course, local prevailing wage rates can greatly affect the cost to keep a car running. According to CarMD, those living in the Northeast U.S. paid the most for check engine repairs last year at $401, while Midwestern motorists enjoyed the cheapest average repairs at $385. Costs will also vary according to a vehicle’s age and how well or poorly it’s otherwise been maintained.

Here’s a look at the five most common check engine light-related problems and the average cost to have them repaired – including parts and labor – according to the 2017 CarMD Vehicle Health Index.

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One of a Times Square-like array of instrument panel lights that flash on briefly when your car starts – and it ’ s sure to cost you money if it stays on – is the Here ’ s a look at the five most common check engine light -related problems and the average cost to have them repaired – including parts and

Taking your car into a shop will cost you around 0 depending on the car . How long do you usually let the check engine light stay on before you do something about it ? Reply249 replies.

  1. Faulty Oxygen Sensor: According to CarMD, the most likely cause of an illuminated check engine light is a faulty oxygen sensor, which measures the amount of oxygen in a vehicle’s exhaust. While it will cost the average American motorist $398 to replace, it can likewise drain a motorist’s wallet over time if ignored, leading to a 40% reduction in a car’s fuel economy.
  2. Replace Catalytic Converter: Essentially the heart of a vehicle’s emission control system, swapping out the catalytic converter is a major repair, setting owners back an average $1,190. Often the converter fails due to a root cause, such as ignoring a misfiring spark plug. Fortunately, federal regulations require automakers to cover the catalytic converter for 10 years or 100,000 miles as part of a model’s new-vehicle warranty.
  3. Replace Ignition Coil And Spark Plugs: Here’s another repair that’s caused by running a car on faulty spark plugs for an extended period. Swapping out the plugs is a relatively cheap maintenance item, but waiting for the ignition coil (which boosts the battery’s 12-volt output to ignite the spark plugs) to fail amps up the bill to an average $401.
  4. Tighten Or Replace Fuel Cap: The first thing you should do if your car or truck’s check engine light stays on is to ensure the vehicle’s gas cap is tightly closed, as simply having a loose cap can wreak minor havoc with the emissions system. At that it will cost only around $16 to have it replaced. Again, running with a faulty gas cap can cut into your car’s fuel economy.
  5. Replace Mass Airflow Sensor: This component determines how much fuel to inject into the engine as it runs; if not operating properly, your vehicle can consume 10% more gas as a result.

The fine print:  The 2017 CarMD Vehicle Health Index analyzed 5,345,588 repairs reported to and validated by CarMD’s network from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. The full Index, including the 25 most common check engine-related repairs, percent of reported check engine light repairs by vehicle age, 11-year history of U.S. car repair costs, and the list of most common repairs by region is available here.

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