Did your BMW check engine light just turn on? This can be one of the most confusing warnings that show up in your dashboard. Why is this? Well, the BMW check engine light offers no explanation as to why this light suddenly turned on. It does not necessarily mean you have a problem with your engine. This will light turn on for many other reasons as well. It could be as serious as a failing transmission or as minor as a loose gas cap.
It can be very difficult to detect the problem on your own. If you take your car to a mechanic, they will be able to inspect your BMW to find the root problem and then give you a proper diagnosis. It is important to determine where the problem is as soon as possible. You don’t want to cause worse issues by continuing to drive it. Let’s go over some reasons why your BMW check engine light could be on.
What Does My BMW Check Engine Light Mean?
Let’s say that your BMW check engine light just turned on. What exactly does this mean? The check engine light is designed to monitor any defects and turn on when it detects a fault in your BMW’s emissions system. Now, it is very important to understand that although it says check engine, the problem may not be with your engine. There are numerous reasons that could trigger a fault and cause the check engine light to turn on.
Some of these issues are very serious and lead to costly repairs while others are very simple. One of the most common non-serious causes is a loose gas cap. So you just went to fill up your BMW with gas and you didn’t tighten up the gas cap all the way. The system within your car will detect a default and turn on your BMW check engine light. Some more serious issues could be an exhaust leak or a transmission problem. Unfortunately, you don’t know how serious the issue is until you take your car into your local repair shop. This is why it is important to take your car in as soon as your BMW check engine light turns on so you can take care of the issue before something worse could happen.
How Does The Check Engine System Work In My BMW?
The check engine light location and color will be different depending on the make and model of your car. However, in the majority of cases, it will be a yellow warning light on your dashboard. Typically this icon will be shaped like a car engine. Additionally, there is often the word “check” under the car engine icon. Now that you know what to look for, it is important to understand that this light is part of the onboard diagnostics system. It will turn on if it detects an issue within your remissions systems. This computer system was implemented to alert you when a problem occurs so you are aware there is a problem and you can take action. There are two ways this light will alert you, it will either be blinking or it will stay solid. What does this mean?
If your BMW check engine light is blinking, this typically is indicating that you have a more serious problem in your emission system. Your car could be experiencing severe misfiring in your engine. If this is happening, unburned fuel will be dumped into the exhaust system. This is very bad. It will overheat your catalytic converter and potentially damage the entire system. If you notice that your BMW check engine light is blinking, you need to take your car to a mechanic immediately.
Now, let’s say your BMW check engine light is a steady light. This indicates that its problem is not an emergency. This means that you can continue to drive your car, but you should definitely schedule an appointment with a mechanic as soon as you can. You don’t wait to continue driving your car and have this problem turn into a worse issue. Always listen to what your BMW check engine light is trying to tell you and get the proper diagnosis from a mechanic.
Why Is My BMW Check Engine Light On?
Your BMW check engine light will turn on for many different reasons. As stated above, this could be a serious problem or a more minor issue. Listed below are some of the more common reasons your BMW check engine light might turn on.
Faulty oxygen sensor: The oxygen sensor is used to monitor the exhaust for unburned oxygen. This is used to indicate that your engine is working efficiently and that you have the proper fuel-to-air ratio. So you might be wondering what happens if you have a faulty oxygen sensor? This means that your sensor will not be providing the correct date to the computer system. It could send a faulty code that will turn on your BMW check engine light.
It is important to ensure these sensors are properly working so they can get accurate readings of what is happening. This is a pretty simple fix if this is causing your check engine light to turn on. You will want to replace your sensors as soon as possible because if you wait, you could damage your catalytic converter. This will lead to more costly repairs.
Failing catalytic converter: The purpose of a catalytic converter is to help reduce emissions in the exhaust gases. It will convert carbon monoxide and other bad gasses into less harmful emissions. This is very important so you don’t breathe in harmful gases when you are driving around. If your catalytic converter starts to fail, your gas mileage will be affected and eventually, your vehicle won’t be able to accelerate any faster. Additionally, your car will not pass any emissions tests.
If your catalytic converter completely breaks, your car will eventually stop driving. When this happens, you know you have big problems. You will have to replace the entire catalytic converter and it will be very expensive to fix.
Loose gas cap: It might sound crazy, but a loose gas cap can promote your BMW check engine light to come on. It might seem a little bit extreme for the check engine light to come on for a loose gas cap, but it turns on to alert you that it needs to be tightened. The gas cap is a seal for your fuel system. If your cap is loose, it will mess up the pressure in your fuel system. If your gas cap is loose, your gas mileage can be reduced and you might see an increase in emissions from your car.
The first moment you notice the yellow check engine light turn on, you should inspect your gas cap. If this is the issue, it is a very simple fix and you won’t need to take your car to the mechanic. If you notice that your gas cap is damaged, you can go to your local auto parts store and purchase a new one. This will resolve the issue and your check engine light should turn off once it is fixed. If your light stays on, you know there are deeper issues that you need to get checked out by a mechanic.
Bad spark plugs: The function of spark plugs is to be a seal in the combustion chamber. It also helps provide the gap for the spark that leads to combustion in the engine. Spark plugs will just wear out over time. There is no way to prevent them from falling. If you determine that you have faulty spark plugs, you will need to get them replaced as soon as possible. A mechanic will be able to help you replace them quickly and most of the time this job is very affordable. Don’t wait to get this fixed because worse issues could occur if you do.
Faulty mass airflow sensor: This sensor plays an important role. It directs the computer system to add the correct amount of fuel based on the amount of air that comes through the engine. There needs to be a specific ratio, and these sensors recognize how much to add. If your sensors start to fail, your car will stall. You might also notice that your emissions will increase and your gas mileage will decrease.
It is possible to continue driving with this issue, but it is not good for your car. If your car continues to stall frequently because of this problem, worse issues could arise. It is best that you call your mechanic to have the sensors replaced so they can start monitoring the fuel-to-air ratio correctly.
How Can I Reset The Check Engine Light?
If you need to reset your BMW check engine light, you can do this within less than five minutes. It is a very simple process. The first thing you want to do is sit in the driver’s seat of your BMW. Close the car door and buckle your seatbelt. After you have done that, hold down the odometer reset button with one hand. You will need the other hand to put the key in the ignition. You don’t need to crack the engine, you just need to turn the key to the accessory position.
Once you have it in the accessory position, continue to hold down the odometer button until the service light starts flashing. When this happens, you will see the word “reset” come across your dashboard. When you see this, you can let go of the odometer button and then press down on it again briefly. You will eventually see a bunch of green LED lights on the dashboard. When these green lights appear, your BMW check engine light should turn off. When the light turns off, you have successfully completed the reset.
How Important Is It to See A Mechanic If my Check Engine Light Is On?
It is crucial that you see a mechanic as soon as your BMW check engine light comes on. You never know if this issue is very serious or just a minor one. After you check your gas cap and determine that is not the problem, you should call a mechanic immediately. If you continue to wait and drive your car, you could damage other parts without even knowing it. Eventually, your car could shut down and stop working. Once this happens, you will be facing very expensive repair costs that maybe could have been avoided by getting a diagnosis sooner. Always take your car to a mechanic if your check engine light is on.
If your BMW check engine light is on, it is important to go see a mechanic immediately. If you decide to wait a few weeks and the problem is coming from your transmission, you could completely damage the system. This would lead to very expensive repair costs.
There is no harm in getting a quick diagnosis from a mechanic because, on the opposite end, the problem could be very simple such as a loose gas cap. If that is the case, it is a simple fix of tightening it up. You never know the extent of the problem until you take your car in to a mechanic and let them determine where the problem is coming from.
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