Image of a man holding a vehicle measurement tool

In modern dashboards there are more lights than a Griswold Christmas display. They can pop on for seemingly no reason at all and have the annoying characteristic of costing the owner much more money than they are worth. The old tongue in cheek “repair” for these persistent lights is to put a piece of black tape over them. That will not make the problem go away unfortunately and it may do more harm than good. At Kearny Mesa Automotive and Transmission we can translate the lights for you and suggest a repair solution. We proudly employ ASE Certified Technicians and our experience spans over 30 years. If anyone in San Diego can figure out what that light is that looks like a toaster with “check” underneath, it is Kearny Mesa Automotive.

The Fuel Cap

Let’s look at the easiest condition to troubleshoot when that pesky check engine light is on. Many times the check engine light is nothing more than a loose fuel cap. Surprisingly, if the fuel cap is not tightened all the way it will trigger the check engine light. That may be all well and good but what if you tighten the cap and the light does not go off? Many times the system will require a certain number of key cycles to reset the check engine light.


Surprisingly the check engine light is directly connected to the emissions control systems of your vehicle. Of course there are intertwining systems that affect the emissions and when the check engine light is on, it could mean a myriad of different issues. For instance, the oxygen sensor on your car is a common cause for the check engine light. An O₂ sensor works directly inline with the fuel system and is responsible for creating the proper fuel/air mixture. This part that hangs off of your exhaust system is sending information to engine components and can affect the way the vehicle runs. Generally a fried O₂ sensor is nothing to be concerned about and they are relatively easy to replace, depending on the vehicle.

Let Kearny Mesa Check It Out!

These are the two most common issues that will cause a check engine light to come on, and when it does the most efficient way to get to the bottom of the issue is to take it to Kearny Mesa Automotive. We will hook up our vehicle specific scanning tools, allowing us to pinpoint the issue based on codes displayed by the onboard computer. The accuracy of the trouble codes that are stored when the Check engine light is illuminated, makes repairing the issue much more efficient. A word of caution: if you think that the check engine light is not important, it is impossible to pass a smog check with a check engine light illuminated. Making the repairs necessary in order to pass emissions. If your check engine light is on and you are sick of putting tape over it, give us a call and have our ASE Master Techs inspect for any issue.