Astoria Mechanic | Collision Repair | Tolimas Auto Center

Why you shouldn't ignore a check engine light

Why you shouldn’t ignore a check engine light

There are some motorists that drive around ignoring a check engine light. Modern cars are so well built and safe that unless you know what to look for most people can’t feel something is wrong with their car. They will drive around for weeks or months until whatever problem their car had becomes too big to ignore. This is where what might have been a small repair becomes a big head ache. On this blog posts we will go over a few experiences where a customer ignored a check engine or service light and what might have been a small or simple repair became a big repair that cost much more to repair than if they would have brought the car in sooner.

Ignoring the low brake pad lining light

Some motorists ignore their low brake warning light so long that the brake pad is completely destroyed. The brakes go down to the metal. This causes extreme amounts of heat from the metal on metal friction which cooks the brake fluid turning it black. Damages brake hoses due to the heat. Priciest of all, it destroys the brake calipers and rotors. Now the the repair doesn’t consist of simple brakes and rotors. The repair required is now a full brake system overhaul. New brake pads, rotors, hoses, calipers, and a brake fluid flush. All these extra parts and longer service add up! All this could have been avoided by simply getting the brakes done on time when the low brake warning light came on.

Ignoring a Check Engine Light that was for bad Oxygen Sensors

bottom view of Oxygen Sensor

We have seen cases particularly with luxury cars were the owner noticed that the car was getting very poor fuel economy and the check engine light was on. They kept driving it like that for months. Then they finally brought the car in when they noticed the engine was severely down on power. We diagnose the issue and we find that the oxygen sensors had failed. The oxygen sensors tell the computer how much fuel is needed for the combustion process. Without the sensor’s reading the computer compensates by dumping fuel. That caused the reduction in fuel economy. The problem is that the extra fuel over time can damage the catalytic converters causing them to clog. On most non-luxury brands like Toyota, Chevrolet, Kia, Honda, and Subaru you can get away with using aftermarket catalytic converters that cost a couple of hundred bucks. With luxury brands the computers will not accept anything but factory catalytic converters that cost $1,000+ for just the part from the dealer. Simple oxygen sensor replacement now becomes a very expensive repair costing over a thousand dollars.

Chips on a Windshield

Cracked Windshield

New York City has never ending construction projects. This causes loose debris on the road to be kicked up and cause a simple chip on a car’s windshield. Most people will ignore this small imperfection and keep on driving. The chip can be repaired with a cheap $15 windshield repair kit that can be found in all auto part stores. But people will ignore it for weeks and months until the chip develops into a crack. Now the cracked windshield has be replaced at the cost of a few hundred dollars instead of $15 for a DIY repair kit and 20 minutes of your time.

Why you shouldn’t ignore small car repairs

As the few examples listed above cars are complex machines and when you ignore a problem it can cascade and cause much bigger more expensive problems. You can get codes scanned at most auto part stores for free. Having your check engine code isn’t the same as having a diagnosis performed, but it can help you ask the right questions to your trusted mechanic. As an highly rated independent mechanic shop we welcome questions and we will advise you as best as possible based on the information you provide.

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