You may have bought your Audi because you love high quality, luxury, and performance, but sometimes cars have issues. The way you often find out is when the dreaded check engine light illuminates on the dashboard. The Check Engine Light (CEL) is never something that should be ignored. This light means the Onboard Diagnostic System (OBD-II) detects a problem in the ignition, fuel, emissions, and/or exhaust system.
In the United States, OBD-II was made mandatory for all cars starting in 1996, so if your car is from the year 1996 or later (up to present day), that is the system you have. The CEL’s code can be extracted with an OBD-II scanner, which automotive service centers will have. The codes inform you of the general problem but often cannot pinpoint the exact issue(s), meaning diagnostic work is usually still required.
The CEL is often a source of distress and fear of massive repair bills. To minimize the chances of an expensive cost to you, it is best to get your Audi inspected as soon as possible. Driving with the CEL on and ignoring it might lead to further damage, depending on what is wrong. Let’s look at the 3 primary reasons you might get a check-engine light in your Audi.
Three Causes of Check Engine Light Illumination
1. Spark plugs
Worn or damaged spark plugs can cause illumination of your engine light. Spark plugs are part of the ignition system, their job is to ignite the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your vehicle. There is one spark plug for every cylinder in your Audi. Problems with spark plugs can also lead to the engine running rough, losing power, as it will not accelerate as easily or as well as it used to, or it could even misfire. This is due to incomplete/absent combustion in one or cylinders.
2. Catalytic converter
This is part of your Audi’s emissions system and helps reduce the amount of harmful pollutants produced while you drive your car. A catalyst within the catalytic converter serves to convert certain harmful gases into ones that are less harmful to the environment. If the catalytic converter is not working right or fails, your Audi will let more harmful gases into the environment than normal.
If you have to have an emissions test, you will most likely fail it. States have different requirements and regulations concerning emissions testing, so it is best to research your state’s rules to learn more. However, it is important to remember that while your Audi will still run without catalytic converters, is it illegal to remove them due to the hazards imposed on others and the environment by doing so. In other words, if the catalytic converter fails, repair and/or replacement is advised over removal of them entirely.
3. Oxygen sensor
These sensors are another part of the emissions system, and while the number of sensors varies by make and model, there is usually at least one in front of the catalytic converter and another in the exhaust manifold. The purpose is to monitor the oxygen levels in the exhaust gases. This is done so too little or too much oxygen can be detected and the vehicle can correct for this. There is an optimal oxygen-to-gasoline ratio, and thus, the level of oxygen tells the car’s computer whether the engine is running lean, with too little fuel, or rich, with too much fuel.
If these fail, the vehicle cannot accurately monitor whether the air to fuel ratio is optimal, leading to poor engine performance as well as a likely increase in harmful emissions.
Carotech Automotive for Your Audi’s Service Needs
In business for over 50 years, and AAA approved, Carotech Automotive in Los Angeles, California is a premier destination for your car’s service, inspection, and maintenance needs. Our work comes with a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty. You can be confident we will provide you with a professional diagnostic inspection of your Audi thoroughly so we can get you back on the road quickly and affordably.
We are located at 8687 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90035. Call (424) 283-4303 to schedule an appointment, or use our easy online form. Our hours are Monday through Friday 8:00AM to 5:30PM. We look forward to earning your repeat business.