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What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

One of the most commonly misunderstood lights or indicators in your Nissan Sentra is the check engine light. The check engine light is part of the onboard diagnostics system, and displays in a few different ways. It can say "Check Engine", it can be a symbol of an engine, it can even be a combination of both. This light illuminates in either an amber or red color and is part of the diagnostics system found on your vehicle. Onboard computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance since the 80s and do a variety of things for your Nissan Sentra. Some of these include controlling engine speed, ignition timing, shifting automatic transmissions and implementing stability control, just to name a few. With that being said, the check engine light can mean a variety of different things. It can be as simple as your gas cap being loose or as serious as engine knocking. If your check engine light is on in your Nissan Sentra, contact Coggin Nissan on Atlantic. Our Nissan service department can help you read what code is turning your check engine light on or observe why your check engine light is flashing. Contact Coggin Nissan on Atlantic today!

Nissan Sentra Check Engine Light Flashing

Although there are countless potential causes of an illuminated Check Engine Light, we know from years of providing Check Engine Light Diagnosis Service that there are several common causes including something as simple as a loose gas cap. Other common reasons for a Check Engine Light are a malfunction with the fuel injection system, damaged oxygen sensor, faulty head gasket, faulty emissions control part, dirty mass airflow sensor, or defective spark plugs to name a few. No matter what is the root cause of the Check Engine Light, we have the Nissan Certified Technicians and the certified service protocol to isolate the root problem and repair it as needed to restore factory specifications. When this happens, the Check Engine Light turns off, and you can leave the service center knowing that your Nissan issue was fixed.

Every Nissan Sentra was designed with a high-technology performance monitoring system with a computer, and a series of sensors positioned strategically throughout the vehicle on its crucial systems. The sensors are continually detecting conditions while sending data to the electronic control unit. If the electronic control unit detects that the data is out of factory specifications, the Check Engine Light illuminates telling you that there is a problem. However, that is the limitation of the Check Engine Light – it won’t tell you what exactly is wrong nor what to do about it. That’s where we come in; Coggin Nissan on Atlantic provides a Check Engine Light Diagnosis Service that isolates the core problem and gives you a recommendation on what to do next from a Highly Qualified Service professional.

Is it safe to drive your Nissan Sentra with the check engine light on?

If the check engine light is flashing, this means that there is a relentless issue and it is recommended to service your Nissan Sentra immediately. This question is not very classic because it all depends on the severity of the issue. If the cause is a minor issue, such as a loose gas cap, it should be secure to drive. This is frequently indicated by a consistent glow of the check engine light. If you notice a difference in the performance of the vehicle, it could be an indication of a more relentless problem. Call the advisors at Coggin Nissan on Atlantic by dialing 9047473915 so you can describe the issues. Or reduce your speed and bring your Nissan to our certified mechanics as soon as convenient.

Check Engine Light Service Nissan Sentra

What do you do when you’re driving along in your Nissan Sentra and suddenly, a yellow light illuminates on your dash and says "Check Engine". If you’re like most Nissan owners, your heart sinks a little because you have little idea about what that light is trying to tell you or how you should react. The fear of the unknown (or the cost of the unknown) can be just as stressful. But take a deep breath and realize the light coming on doesn’t mean you have to pull the car over to the side of the road and call a tow truck, but it is recommended that you get your Nissan Sentra checked as soon as possible. Ignoring that warning could end up causing major damage to expensive engine components.

When your Nissan Sentra's ECM (electronic control module), which is the vehicle's onboard computer, finds a problem in the electronic control system that it can’t correct, a computer turns on your check engine light. This amber or yellow light is typically labeled “check engine” or “service engine soon”, or the light may be nothing more than a picture of an engine, or a picture of the engine with the word “check.”

When the light turns on, the ECM stores an engine code or “trouble code” in its memory that identifies as the issue, whether it's a sensor or a failing engine part. This code is read with an electronic scan tool that is used by our Nissan auto repair mechanics at Coggin Nissan on Atlantic. There are also a number of relatively inexpensive code readers that are designed for do-it-yourselfers, should you choose that route too. While this code will tell you the issue that is detected, a true diagnosis still requires an experienced professional to determine the issue and repair it.

Will the check engine light reset itself?

The check engine light on your Nissan Sentra will usually shut itself off if the issue or code that caused it to turn on is fixed. For example, if the cause of your check engine light coming on was a loose gas cap, if it's tightened, the light will turn itself off. Likewise, if your catalytic converter is going functional, and you did a lot of stop-and-go driving, that may have turned on the check engine light due to the high usage of the converter. In most cases, your Nissan Sentra light will go off after about 20-40 miles. If you drive over that amount and the light is still on, you will need to bring it in to Coggin Nissan on Atlantic so the light and code can be double-checked and reset.

How much does it cost to get the engine light checked?

The check engine light warns of issues ranging from a gas cap that's not well tightened to a more productive failure identical a bad catalytic converter or a problem with one of the car's oxygen sensors, so it distinguished to get the convenient code reading and diagnosis. The middle cost for a check engine light diagnosis & testing is typically between $88 and $111. The distinguished news, Coggin Nissan on Atlantic offers complimentary multi-point inspections and free diagnostics, in most cases, to help mean the cause of your check engine light.

Nissan Sentra Check Engine Light

If the check engine light in your Nissan Sentra starts flashing, that means that the problem needs sudden attention and your Nissan should be brought in immediately. A flashing light indicates that the problem is harsh and if not taken care of immediately may result in considerable wear and tear to the car. This blinking light usually indicates a severe engine misfire allowing unburned fuel to be dumped into the exhaust system. There it can quickly raise the temperature of the catalytic converter to a point where damage is likely, requiring an expensive repair. Some owners ask if spark plugs cause the check engine light to flash? This can absolutely be the cause. A bad, old or dirty spark plug can cause the engine to misfire. If the problem is ignored or you continue to commute, this can spread to the spark plug wires, catalytic converter, or ignition coils which can lead to a excessively expensive repair. If your check engine light is glaring, please contact our team of automotive consultants at Coggin Nissan on Atlantic quickly by calling 9047473915.

Nissan Sentra Check Engine Light Codes

The check engine light turning on can be quite intimidating to see that little light on your vehicle’s dashboard suddenly illuminates, but in reality, it is not something that should cause you to shut down in fear right away. If you hear the term, diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), these are just another name for check engine light codes. These are automotive computer codes stored by the ECM, also known as the OBD (on-board computer diagnostic system) in your Sentra. There are hundreds of different codes that your check engine light can represent. While that sounds daunting, with a little patience, tackling basic diagnostics will give you useful knowledge about your vehicle and will also allow that Check Engine Light to do what it is really supposed to do: be your guide. Unfortunately, obvious and helpful vehicle symptoms do not always accompany an illuminated Check Engine Light. Since there are hundreds of possible OBD codes, there are also hundreds of possible reasons for the light, including:

  • Emissions controls issues
  • Computer output circuit issues
  • Old Battery
  • Bad Spark Plugs
  • Transmission issues
  • Fuel and air metering systems problems
  • Ignition system faults
  • Loose Gas Cap or Missing Gas Cap
  • O2 Sensor
This is why it is important for someone who does not have a lot of automotive knowledge to not assume what a code means. Call Coggin Nissan on Atlantic at 9047473915 today or schedule your check engine light service online today! If the engine light comes on due to a compelling concern, you risk damaging your car further by not repairing the issue prudent away. When your check engine light comes on, you should get it checked out quickly by a certified Nissan mechanic.

How many miles can you drive with the check engine light?

Since each check engine code has its own level of severity, it is severe to predict how many miles you can drive with the warning light on. It could be anything from a bad sensor to plug wires needing to be replaced. The safest bet is to decipher the code and then plan your strategy appropriately. If you check engine light is flashing, we endorse that you pull over and contact Coggin Nissan on Atlantic to help indicate if your vehicle is safe to drive in or if we endorse a tow truck.

What could cause the check engine light to come on in a Nissan Sentra?

When your check engine light comes on, this could be as simple as tightening or replacing your gas cap. Likewise, the check engine light could also be a warning of a serious problem that could cause serious damage to your engine and come with a hefty repair bill. Depending on your make and model, the check engine light will illuminate or blink. A steady glow typically means something less serious but a flashing check engine light indicates that your vehicle’s engine is in serious trouble and service is needed immediately. If your check engine light is flashing in your Nissan Sentra, we highly recommend not to drive the vehicle and schedule Nissan service today. Below is a list of the most common reasons your check engine light can come on:

  • Issues with all aftermarket items. An aftermarket alarm, exhaust or divergent item can wreak havoc on your Nissan Sentra if it’s not installed appropriately. These aftermarket parts and accessories can ditch the battery, trigger the check engine light, or even prevent the vehicle from starting. If these issues sound routine, bring your Sentra to Nissan and have our unit of certified mechanics ensure that your aftermarket items were installed correctly and aren't causing all issue. Getting accessories, especially aftermarket parts and accessories, or using OEM parts authentic place might cost a little bit more but could save you money from having to get poor work and damage caused by poor installation work corrected.
  • Your Nissan Sentra has a vacuum leak. Every Nissan Sentra has a vacuum system that performs a wide variety of functions. The vacuum system also helps lower harmful emissions by routing the fumes as gasoline evaporates through the engine. If you notice that your RPM is high in idle or randomly surges, a vacuum leak could be the cause. Over time, vacuum hoses can dry out and crack, especially if they’re exposed to intense heat or extreme freezing.
  • Your O2 Sensor (Oxygen Sensor) needs to be replaced. The Oxygen sensor, established as the O2 sensor, measures the amount of oxygen in your exhaust system. If there is excess oxygen in your exhaust system, fuel burns faster and your vehicle will be less reasonable when it comes to fuel economy.
  • The battery is low or dead. The battery in your Nissan Sentra is every vital. Without a car battery, your car won’t start, light up the road ahead, play the radio or charge your phone. Today’s car batteries last much longer than they did a few decades ago, and they don't really require maintenance. The price of a new one depends on the type of Nissan you drive, but check our slight service coupons and specials.
  • So what happens if I don’t replace your O2 sensor? A faulty sensor can not only affect your miles per gallon, but it can cause damage to your catalytic converter and your Nissan Sentra's spark plugs. The O2 sensor sends data to the vehicle’s onboard computer to advantage the polite mixture of air and fuel that enters the cylinders in your engine. A bad O2 sensor can also cause a car to fail an emissions test.
  • Your mass airflow sensor (known as MAF) needs to be replaced. The mass airflow sensor in your Nissan Sentra is what determines how much fuel is essential to run your engine efficiently by measuring the amount of air entering the engine. As a part of the engine management system, the mass airflow sensor helps adjust to colossal changes, like altitude. If your Nissan Sentra is having trouble starting, idling rough or has a sudden change in the position of the throttle pedal, this could be a sign of a bad mass airflow sensor.
  • New Spark Plugs or Plug Wires are essential for your Nissan Sentra. The spark plugs are the part of your engine that ignites the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your vehicle. This explosion is what moves the pistons and makes the engine run. The spark plug wires deliver the spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. If your spark plugs or spark plug wires are bad or classical, you will experience poor performance and reduced power. In a little extreme cases, your engine will have trouble starting or continuing to run. Worn spark plugs and plug wires can cause clogged catalytic converter or damage to ignition coils and O2 sensors, leading to more lavish repairs.
  • One of the most routine and frequent cause is that your Nissan Sentra gas cap is loose, damaged or missing. The gas cap for your Nissan Sentra serves multiple purposes. It prevents gas fumes from being released when you aren't driving, it seals the fuel system and helps maintain pressure within the fuel tank. What happens if you have a bad fuel cap? If your gas cap is classical or has a ruptured seal, you can lose fuel through evaporation which will result in more trips to the pump. Luckily, to replace a gas cap isn't lavish. If your check engine light turns on today after you put gas in your Nissan Sentra, authentic thing you should check is to make positive the cap isn’t loose — or that it's still on your car’s roof or at the fuel pump.
  • Your catalytic converter is bad or going bad. The catalytic converter is a part of your Nissan Sentra’s exhaust system. The catalytic converter's function is to turn the carbon monoxide created by the combustion process into carbon dioxide. A damaged catalytic converter is commonly caused by neglected maintenance, which is why Coggin Nissan on Atlantic offers a complimentary multi-point inspection with every Nissan service. If you have an issue with your catalytic converter and don't get it repaired, your Nissan Sentra will not pass an emissions test, show a lack of engine performance and will negatively affect your fuel economy. Your car may run at a higher temperature, too, which can cause divergent problems from overheating.