This Easy Car Repair Is Probably What's Keeping Your Check Engine Light On

Photo: Flickr via Robert Couse-Baker

Although 8 out of 10 cars on the road today are in need of repair, more than 9 million U.S. drivers still ignore their “check engine” lights,’s Greg Laskoski reports.Big mistake. Huge

Most people (65 per cent) blame lack of funds for delaying the trip to the auto shop, and at this point, you’d expect the typical speech about how putting off car maintenance could cost you more in repairs down the road. 

But you might actually be ignoring one of the most common–and simple–car repairs you can fix yourself.

“The #1 reason for “check engine” problems is a faulty oxygen (O2) sensor, which can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 40 per cent,” Laskoski writes.

The sensor monitors unburned oxygen from your exhaust and when it gets covered in ash, it becomes glitchy and doesn’t send the right data to your car’s computer. 

Not only is it at the top of the five most common reasons the check engine light could pop on, according to Jalopnik, but it’s pretty simple to fix yourself. 

LifeHacker sums it up:

“Not replacing a broken oxygen sensor can eventually lead to a busted catalytic converter which can cost upwards of $2,000. Taking your car into a shop will cost you around $200 depending on the car. However, an oxygen sensor is easy to replace on many cars and is usually detailed in the owner’s manual. If you know where the sensor is, you only have to unclip the old sensor and replace it with a new one.”

See 8 questions every couple should ask before buying a car >

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