Your car may be starting and running fine with the check engine light on but your fuel economy may be reduced. You may also be causing damage to other emissions components that are working correctly if you continue to drive with the check engine light on.
Possible Damaged Components:
- Oxygen sensors
- Catalytic converters
- Hoses, gaskets and wires
Fuel Economy May be Reduced by:
- Engine computer changing its settings to compensate for the fault
- Electric cooling fans, alternator and other electronic components running more than normal
Auto Repair Expenses May Increase due to:
- Damage to good components
- Future auto repair diagnotic costs increased by other components failing pre-maturely
- Reading a diagnostic code and replacing the component the code points to as defective which in reality may not be bad. An example would be having a parts house read the code and then sell you a sensor or component to fix the check engine light
- A simple item like a broken vacuum hose can set a code that has the description of a sensor (i.e. oxygen sensor). A $2.00 piece of hose and someone to diagnose the problem may fix it, rather than buying a sensor that does not fix it.
Here is a good video that further illustrates the importance of getting your check engine light diagnosed as soon as possible.