Everyone who owns an car dreads the little yellow engine light that appears on their dashboard at the most inopportune time — usually when driving your young family somewhere. At the sight of this warning light thoughts turn toward the repair shop and high service costs which can deplete your emergency fund. Or, perhaps, the repair costs are so huge the car needs to stay in the driveway until enough money is accumulated. Or, perhaps, this is not the case at all.
The engine light, in addition to other ailments in your vehicle, may not cost several hundred or thousands of dollars to repair. In fact, all it may take is a few dollars to fix the item and keep your car on the road. You just need a few things to check first before you call the repair shop. Here are some common issues which you may be able to fix on your own.
Check Engine Light
Unless you can actually hear or feel a problem with the engine which may be connected to a bad fuel injector or other piece of equipment, the Check Engine Light can mean so many other things. Avoid the initial panic and stop by a store like AutoZone. They will review the code produced from your vehicle’s computer and provide a printout of the possible problems. The solution may be as simple as the replacement of a gas cap. These stores will also erase the code from the computer once the issue is corrected. And if the initial repair doesn’t do the job, then at least you have the code to present to the repair shop, which may avoid unnecessary fees.
Low Gas Mileage
Have you checked your tire pressure lately? Low pressure puts more exertion on the vehicle that results in the reduction of gas mileage. By the way, this can also be reason why your breaks are wearing down or aren’t working as well. Stop by the local gas station and maximize the tire pressure. This can cost nothing or, at the maximum, four quarters.
The squeal your brakes make when you stop doesn’t always mean they need to be replaced. On the contrary, you should be more concerned if you hear grinding over squealing. The high-pitched sound may mean a few things. The most common is they need to be cleaned or realigned. A local repair shop or franchise like Big O Tire can do this for well under $100.
Poor Engine Performance
Air filter. A dirty air filter makes a vehicle’s engine run poorer than normal. These can be purchased for $20 or under at the local auto parts store and can be installed by you via instructions on the package or with help from YouTube videos. Some parts stores may even install them for you, as long as it doesn’t require too much dismantling.