Emissions: What you need to know about your car

Last updated on March 21st, 2018

There is a serious misconception that the emissions issue is purely at government or commercial level. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Each individual household is responsible for ensuring that their vehicle is in top condition. Failure to do so means that motorists are increasing their carbon footprint, which, of course, means that there is more pressure or global warming. There are a few signs that motorists need to look out for where emissions and fuel efficiency are concerned.

The check engine light is the first indication that something is wrong, followed by a sluggish response and sometimes even misfires. Motorists will also start noticing a significant increase in their fuel bill. It is imperative to have the check engine light checked out. A diagnostic is usually done on the vehicle to see what the problem is. Even though it may be something critical, the following items have come up as the most common reasons for the check engine light to come on.

Ensure that your catalytic converter is adequately monitored

Motorists are often loath to take their vehicles in for servicing once the check engine light comes on. This is, however, crucial to check as it could be due to a malfunctioning oxygen sensor. These sensors are crucial to ensure that the right mix of fuel and oxygen take place. Often this sensor is just malfunctioning due to an oil and dirt build up. Replacing the sensor is a lot more cost effective than replacing the catalytic converter.

Faulty spark plugs

Faulty spark plugs end up misfiring which ends up affecting acceleration. This causes the vehicle to be sluggish, therefore, less economic. Faulty spark plugs also contribute to the eventual collapse of the catalytic converter. Spark plugs are not very expensive and are easy to maintain on a vehicle. This forms part of any service and should be changed every 30000 kilometers.

You may need to replace the catalytic converter

Sluggish responses and lower mileage are both indicators that there might be something wrong with the catalytic converter. The converter helps lowering emissions by turning emissions into other harmless compounds. This is unfortunately not a part that you would want to ignore, as the vehicle would end up having a very sluggish response and eventually not be driveable anymore. This part needs to be fit professionally and is also quite expensive, however, can be avoided if the car is serviced regularly.

Loose fuel cap

Fuel inefficiency means greater pressure on the environment. A cracked or stripped fuel cap is one of the major contributors to fuel inefficiency. It is vital that the fuel cap is check should the check engine light come. If you drive around with a cracked or stripped fuel cap, it will literally just mean your gas will go up in smoke. This is one of the least expensive items to replace on a vehicle. A properly fitting fuel cap will ensure that the fuel vapors don’t escape.

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