The Simple Reason That May be Behind Your Check Engine Light | Houston Auto Repair Near You | Santa Ana Auto Care - Houston, TX

The Simple Reason That May be Behind Your Check Engine Light

Santa Ana Auto Care understands that a check engine light can be confusing. It can be difficult to determine what the actual cause of the indicator is. Many people think that a check engine light automatically means costly repairs. However, that is not always the case. Small issues, like a loose gas cap, could be the simple reason behind your check engine light. Here, we’ve laid out all the information you need to know about your gas cap and the check engine light:

Problems with the Gas Cap

If the gas cap causes the check engine light to turn on, this does not mean there is an emergency with the vehicle. The gas cap closes the tank so nothing can enter or exit the car. Without the gas cap, fuel may escape from the tank and cause later problems for drivers. Since the check engine light is there to alert drivers of issues that can damage the car, the gas cap may be the problem because:

  • Cap cannot close due to dirt or mud near the tank
  • Cap is completely gone from the car
  • Cap is not secure or in place
  • Dents to the car may affect the shape of the gas tank

The gas cap hanging out of place is one common problem that the check engine light will recognize. A missing gas cap may not cause any instant problems, but if this issue continues, there will be more signs to look for besides the check engine light.

Buying a New Gas Cap

A new gas cap is not a major purchase. So, if the original gas cap breaks or goes missing, simply buy a new one. Gas caps are usually $15 so car owners should buy a new gas cap if their car needs it. There is no benefit from ignoring the check engine light and gas cap. Ignoring this problem can even turn a small issue into several problems such as:

  • Car owners are fueling more often
  • Gas cap cannot screw into place
  • Weird smells coming out of the gas tank

Preventing Gas Cap Problems

Most gas cap problems are preventable. The best advice for car owners is to listen to the gas cap every time you fuel your car. There should be a click that lets drivers know when the cap is in place. Make it a routine to listen for the click. Other ways to prevent gas cap problems are by:

  • Cleaning the body of the car, especially near the gas tank area
  • Closing the small lid that covers the cap and gas tank
  • Fueling the car with the gas pump securely in place


While you should do your best to prevent gas cap problems, there’s no need panic if it comes time to buy a new cap. Drivers should see the check engine light turn off if the gas cap was the problem. If the check engine light is still on, the gas cap may not be the issue. Professional computer diagnostics will need to assess the vehicle for an exact diagnosis. Santa Ana Auto Care is a trusted auto care center in Houston, Texas and can help you with a check engine diagnosis. Give us a call at (713) 956-1145.

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