The last thing you want to see during your drive to work is the check engine light on your Mazda. Why does this ominous symbol appear, and what does it indicate about your Mazda?
The check engine light appears in response to a detected problem with your Mazda. These issues can include a loose gas cap, low coolant temperature, or a malfunctioning ignition coil.
If you’re a Mazda owner, having an illuminated dashboard can be annoying and concerning at first. But thankfully there are several steps you can take to find out exactly why the check engine light is on.
Several problems can cause your Mazda check engine light to appear. Something as simple as a missing or loose gas cap. Or, a more serious problem, such as electrical issues.
However, right off the bat – if you see your check engine light staying steady, no need to panic! You can continue driving for now.
But if the warning is flashing – time to pull over and take a break from driving. Because a flashing Mazda check engine light is a warning that a serious mechanical problem has occurred.
Thankfully, many of the problems associated with this telltale light can be identified quickly.
In this guide, we’ll shed some light on what causes your check engine light to come on. Then we’ll provide recommendations for addressing this situation.
Let’s dive into all the probable causes for that pesky Mazda check engine light.
What Does The Mazda Check Engine Light Mean?
When something isn’t quite right with your car’s engine, transmission, or emissions control system, you might get a warning from the onboard computer in the form of the infamous “check engine” light.
That infamous illumination certainly doesn’t mean all is lost, however. It’s merely alerting you to an issue that needs to be resolved before it turns into something more serious.
Fact is, that reassuring light serves as a safeguard when problems begin to arise. And if you catch the problem early enough – it will save you from headaches later down the road.
What Should I do if my Mazda Check Engine Light is Flashing?
As soon as you see the Check Engine Light flashing, it’s time to call for a tow. This isn’t one of those “ignore and keep going” warnings.
Fact is, a flashing check engine light means your engine has got some serious issues. Continuing to drive with a flashing warning light can cause major damage if left unchecked.
However, pull over somewhere safe and get help pronto.
What is The Most Common Reason For Check Engine Light on a Mazda?
When it comes to Mazdas, the most common reason for the check engine light is due to a bad oxygen sensor.
The oxygen sensor is an important part of the vehicle’s emission system. It measures the unburned oxygen in the exhaust system. While a bad oxygen sensor isn’t a serious mechanical issue, it will result in having poor fuel economy.
The exhaust system is another likely culprit for a illuminated check engine light. There could be an exhaust leak or a problem with the catalytic converter.
A dirty mass airflow sensor (MAF) is another sensor that will trigger a check engine warning.
Simply put, a dirty mass air flow sensor cannot measure air flow correctly. The result – the engine computer miscalculates the amount of fuel needed.
This will cause a handful of problems with your Mazda. Such as, poor fuel economy, rough idling, or hard starting.
If your Mazda’s check engine light is on, it might be due to one of these common culprits:
A Loose Gap Cap
As simple as it seems, forgetting your gas cap can cause the check engine light to come on. Make sure your gas cap is on tightly to see if the light disappears. If not, consider replacing the old cap with a new one.
Low Coolant Temperatures
A coolant leak can cause your engine not to be properly cooled, leading to overheating as you drive. You may notice a persistent sweet smell that indicates a coolant leak somewhere in your engine system.
Repairing the coolant leak (or topping up with coolant if your car is low) should rectify the issue.
Malfunctioning Ignition Coil
An ignition coil is supposed to transfer the voltage of the battery into the electric spark needed for the spark plugs. Naturally, when a coil is malfunctioning, your car may stall, have trouble starting, lose power suddenly, or misfire.
Finding and replacing the faulty coil will fix the issue.
Reality is, it’s often hard to guess why the check engine light is on, especially if your Mazda seems to drive perfectly normal.
But before doing anything, make sure the gas cap is on correctly. If it is, take the vehicle to the local dealership or auto parts store to have the cars computer scanned for trouble codes.
How Can I Get my Check Engine Light Checked For Free?
So your gas cap is on tight, and everything else seems normal? If that’s the case, then it’s time to take your car to the dealership or local auto parts store for a scan.
Getting the computer code scanned will surely provide the answer for the warning light. This is essentially the best way of finding out discrete details about what could be happening inside your vehicle’s engine.
After all, accurately diagnosing problems is far easier than spending money guessing what the problem could be.
The onboard computer in your car keeps track of every detail about the car’s processes through an array of sensors in your vehicle.
To identify the source of the problem, a OBDII diagnostic scanner is required. This tool is capable of reading specific error codes to help identify the problem.
If anything’s wrong with the engine or associated parts, the check engine light will come on and a corresponding error code can be identified through the use of an OBDII scanner.
The takeaway here should be that seeing the dreaded check engine light doesn’t have to be scary. As long as you take the right steps and stay informed, finding out what’s wrong with your Mazda shouldn’t take too long.
It may just involve a quick trip to your local parts store or local dealership.