Posted by Zoe Geoffrion , on May, 2018
When the “check engine” light comes on in your car, it’s your car’s way of trying to communicate with you – but sometimes it doesn’t always have the language at hand to give you a precise message. So, at times, you’ll get alerts that don’t point to anything or is simply responding to something completely unrelated. This can include when you install a new gas cap, and suddenly your “check engine” light is flashing even though your engine’s fine. How is it gas caps can trigger your engine light?
Your Gas Cap Forms a Poor Seal
If your gas cap isn’t sealed properly, you may well be having problems with your engine. An improper seal can affect the fuel injection system, and a poorly functioning fuel injection system means a whole host of problems for your engine when the system has issues drawing fuel from the tank to run throughout the vehicle’s systems. Any sign of stress in your engine is enough to trigger your “check engine” light and warn you that there may be a problem. Tracing that problem may be difficult, though, when few people stop to think that their gas cap might be the culprit.
Your Car Has a Fuel Cap Sensor
Newer cars are required to meet specific goals for fuel emissions per environmental regulations. That means many of them are equipped with EPA-regulated sensors, which are capable of detecting highly sensitive criteria for whether or not a fuel cap is sealed correctly. Under these conditions:
- You may receive an alert if the fuel cap is not properly sealed
- If the lack of internal vacuum pressure reaches specific levels and temperatures, it may trigger the “check engine” light or other warning lights if internal tests fail enough times in sequence
Often the fix for this is just tightening your gas cap, but you may want to check to make sure you don’t have a torn hose or any other issue as well.
So How Can You Prevent Activating Your Check Engine Light?
If you need a new gas cap, it’s best to buy an OEM part designed for your specific make and model. While technically most gas caps are universal, you never know what tiny variations in manufacturing, sizing, and fit can lead to just enough of a break in your seal to trigger problems. You may also be losing fuel to evaporation, so buying a properly fitted gas cap can also prevent fuel loss and emissions issues. If you need help finding an OEM designed cap for your make, model, and year, you can often check with your regular mechanic for assistance in sourcing. For more information, visit Motoradusa.com.