Our Japanese Auto Repair Blog

5 Common Reasons Why Your Check Engine Light Is On

It’s one of every car owner’s biggest nightmares– the check engine light has become illuminated in your dash. This is a sure sign of problems under the hood of your car, and it’s hard to know exactly how serious those problems are.

It could be a quick fix, or it could be a problem that leaves you stranded and costs you thousands of dollars unless it’s addressed quickly. Either way, it’s important to get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible.

Here are 5 of the most common reasons your check engine light might be on.


1. Problem With Your Gas Cap

Of all the reasons your check engine light might be on, this one could be the easiest and least expensive to fix. In some vehicles, the check engine light comes on if the gas cap is missing, loose, or damaged.

Without the gas cap creating an appropriate seal for your fuel system, gas fumes can escape from your vehicle into the atmosphere. This evaporation causes you to lose fuel and have to fill up your vehicle more often.


2. Oxygen Sensor Malfunction

One of the most common reasons your check engine light may come on is that your oxygen sensor is failing. Your local auto repair shop in Western Washington can replace it for you quickly, which will restore your vehicle’s ability to measure unburned oxygen in its exhaust system.

Until you replace this part, your engine will burn more fuel than it really has to, which will reduce the vehicle’s fuel economy. A new oxygen sensor will also help you prevent damage to your catalytic converter and spark plugs.


3. Faulty Spark Plugs

Your spark plugs are responsible for igniting fuel in your vehicle’s combustion chamber. They get their spark from the ignition coil by way of the spark plug wires. A problem with either your spark plug wires or the spark plugs themselves could cause your check engine light to come on.

Ignoring this problem may lead to a clogged catalytic converter, damaged ignition coils, or problems with your oxygen sensor. Healthy spark plugs are also crucial to maintaining your vehicle’s power and fuel economy.


4. Bad Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter normally fails after other engine problems have been ignored. If yours isn’t working, your vehicle will run hot, waste fuel, and stop performing as well as it used to.

You also need a functioning catalytic converter to pass an emissions test, since it’s responsible for reducing carbon monoxide emissions.


5. Failing Aftermarket Alarm

If you’ve recently had an aftermarket alarm added to your vehicle, that could be the reason your check engine light came on.

A failing product or bad installation can lead to a host of issues including failure to start the engine, a drained battery, and more.


Check Engine Light/ Diagnostics

Here at Greg’s Japanese Auto repair shop, we speak your car’s language and know the ins and outs of your vehicle. We specialize in working with these cars from Japan and Korea because we want to be your best bet for imported car service near Seattle.

We have eight locations all over the Puget Sound Region, ranging from Lynnwood all the way down to Puyallup. On the other side of Lake Washington, you can find us in Bellevue, Renton, and Covington. Come visit any of our auto repair locations in Western Washington, and we’ll help you determine exactly why your check engine light is on.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sheila Shelton

6 Signs That It May Be Time for a Brake Job

The brakes are one of the most important features in your vehicle. They are paramount to remain safe on the road. It is recommended to take your car to a mechanic once every 50,000 miles for a brake job to ensure everything works as it should.

However, if you notice any of the following signs, then you want to bring your vehicle in sooner to have it looked at.

1. Excessively Thin Brake Pads

You can analyze whether you need a brake job by simply looking at the brake pads. They are located between the brake caliper and brake disc. You can see them by peering between the spokes on your car’s wheels.

In the event the pads are any less than 1/4-inch in thickness, then it is a clear indicator they are about to wear down completely. You need to replace the pads before they wear out, or else you will end up with metal scraping against metal, which can significantly damage the brake system.

2. Vibrations in the Brake Pedal

You should know how it feels to apply the brake pedal. If you notice any vibrations coming from it when you press down, then you have a problem. The vibrations are likely accompanied by greater difficulty in slowing down your car, which is dangerous.

A vibrating brake pedal is often a sign the brake pads are too worn out, so when you feel the vibrations, you should physically examine the pads. You should take your vehicle to a mechanic promptly to have the issue addressed.

3. Screeching or Squealing Noises

When you engage the brakes, there should not be any sound coming out. When you start to hear screeching or squealing sounds, it is often the first sign your pads are failing. The sound is most likely coming from a tiny, metallic shim indicator embedded within the pad to let you know there is an issue.

The sound may also come from dust and other debris that has accumulated on the pads. If the noises do not go away after a few uses, then you need a professional’s help.

4. Indicator Lights

Pay attention to your dashboard. When any of the lights illuminate, you need to address the issue right away. These days, some cars even come with an indicator to tell you when it is time to replace the brake pads, which you should follow.

When the light comes on, you should make sure your mechanic replaces the light sensors in addition to the pads.

5. Shaky Steering Wheel

The pads can cause a lot of issues in your vehicle. However, you also want to pay attention to signs of failing brake rotors. As you drive, you may feel shaking coming from the steering wheel.

This is a clear sign your car needs a check-up. Most of the time, the rotors are the culprit. They could be uneven and require repairs from a professional.

6. Leaky Fluid

As you drive off, you may realize your car leaves behind a small puddle. Your first thought maybe that it is motor oil, but it could be something else.

It is possible the puddle consists of brake fluid, which will degrade the system prematurely. In the event you have no clue what the fluid could be, then you want to take your car to a mechanic immediately to assess the situation.


Get Your Brake Maintenance on Greg’s Japanese Auto

Any changes to your car’s behavior should be examined. Bring your car over to Greg’s Japanese Auto for routine maintenance to ensure your brakes continue working as they should.

You can contact us to learn more about our services and to set up a time to come in. We would be more than happy to look at your vehicle’s brakes to determine what is causing the problem.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Rommel Canlas

Tips for defogging your car windshield

6 Tips for Defogging Your Windshield

A foggy windshield is more than just annoying. It is a safety hazard because it limits your field of visibility. No matter what the weather is like outside, it is always possible to have fog build up inside your vehicle. The reason fog forms is due to condensation inside the car that hits the windshield, and due to the fact it is lower than the outside temperature, fog develops. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of that fog so that you can continue driving safely.

Did You Hear That? 10 Noises Your Car Shouldn’t Be Making

After driving your car for only a few weeks, you should be familiar with all of the little peculiarities that make it special. You know the sound it makes when you first ignite the engine and how it should sound when you accelerate (if it makes any sound at all). To keep your vehicle in excellent working condition, you need to recognize and diagnose issues immediately. Strange sounds often indicate car problems, and you do not want an expensive mechanic’s bill because you failed to act sooner. These are the most common car problems and what they most likely are.

Man driving safely on a rainy day in Downtown Seattle

Driving Tips for Getting Around Downtown Seattle Safely and Efficiently

Seattle is a beautiful, vibrant city with a lot to offer locals and visitors alike. From craft breweries to museums, there is something for everybody. The process of getting to and driving through Seattle can be tricky, due to the usual challenges associated with big city driving, along with some uniquely local difficulties and terrain such as Lake Washington. Use these safe driving tips to help prepare you for your next trip to the city.

Beautiful scene of Seattle's skyline with Moun Rainier in the background

Must-See Spots in Springtime in Seattle

While Seattle retains its Pacific Northwest charms even through the dulled, gray winter months, the warming springtime sun illuminates what makes this coastal city one of the most beautiful in the country. Whether you’re looking to spend time watching salmon slingers downtown, plop down on a sandy beach, or traverse gorgeous odes to the natural world, you’ll be wowed by the best views in Seattle.

Plaes to teach teens to drive near Seattle

Good Places to Help Your Teen Learn How to Drive Around Seattle

If you have an upcoming driver at your house, you might be wondering how to teach your child to drive. While you could head out on I-5, that might not be the best solution for someone who hasn’t been behind the wheel before. It’ll probably take some time to warm up to that kind of traffic. Try some of the following suggestions for starters.

Best Drives With a View Around Seattle

Thanks to its famous rain, the Pacific Northwest is chock-full of natural beauty. Even the busiest cities in the region have ample access to nature. A simple drive across the floating I-90 bridge from Seattle to Mercer Island or Bellevue is a treat of stunning lake and mountain views. If you’re looking for scenic drives near Seattle that really show off our state’s gorgeous landscape, check out some of these routes.

Greg’s Japanese Auto

Tired of auto repair shops that don't understand your car? Want a car mechanic who does? Come to Greg's Japanese Auto.

We only work on Japanese makes and models, and we have the experience and knowhow to give your car the service it deserves. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

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For quality service of your Japanese car model, rely on Greg's Japanese Auto Parts and Service. Call to schedule your appointment today at 1-800-794-7347.