Top 6 Reasons the Check Engine Light Comes On

Reasons the Check Engine Comes On

It’s happened to all of us. You’re driving along, everything is seemingly normal, and then bam – the check engine light comes on. You don’t see smoke pouring from the hood of your car; there isn’t a noticeable clunking noise. So why did that dang light turn on?

And if we are being honest here, I’m sure that more than a few of us have driven our car for weeks or months (dare I say years?) before taking the car to a service center to investigate the cause of the pesky check engine light.

Knowing the top reasons for the check engine light allows you to take some initial steps before heading to the service department and helps you to evaluate the severity of the issue. Heck, you might even be able to fix the problem yourself!

Instead of assuming everything is fine until your car blows up in a fiery explosion, be aware of these top 6 reasons the check engine light comes on:

 1. Loose Gas Cap

Now wouldn’t you feel silly taking your car in for a checkup, only to find out the check engine light was on because the gas cap was loose? So when that light appears, the first thing you need to do is make sure that the gas cap is on securely and that is it not cracked or damaged.

A cracked or loose fuel cap can cause major issues with your car because fuel vapors are constantly leaking and the gas you paid for is slowing evaporating. Not only that, but you will notice your MPGs dropping as well.

 2. Failing Oxygen Sensor

A malfunction from the oxygen sensor is one of the most common service repairs. So it is safe to say it is one of the most common causes of the doomed check engine light as well.

An oxygen sensor monitors how much fuel is burned and plays a big role in maintaining proper fuel economy. Burning oil and internal leaks can cause an oxygen sensor to malfunction and the check engine light to flip on. Gone unrepaired, a damaged oxygen sensor can substantially decrease your miles per gallon.

Reasons for the Check Engine Light

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3. Failing Catalytic Converter

Usually a catalytic converter fails because another component of the car fails first, typically an oxygen sensor or spark plugs. The catalytic converter’s main job is to turn carbon monoxide into harmless emissions. When it fails, gas mileage is again affected and after a while, you won’t be able to keep the car running.

The longer you wait to get this fixed, the worse off your car is. So don’t delay if you suspect this to be the issue!

4. Bad Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are crucial in the workings of your engine. Without them, your engine would not be able to combust. When you have a bad spark plug, your engine misfires and often becomes difficult to start. As mentioned before, a failing spark plug can also spell disaster for your catalytic converter, so it’s important to have these up to par.

Replacing a spark plug is pretty easy – you could replace them yourself and have a handy friend or family member do it for you.

 5. Malfunctioning Mass Air Flow Sensor

The mass air flow sensor is responsible for telling the car how much fuel the engine needs based on how much air is coming through the engine. When the air flow sensor is broken, your car’s emissions increase and you guessed it, gas mileage suffers.

It is easy to go months without really noticing any side effects of a bad air flow sensor but after a while, your car will begin to stall frequently.

Toyota Batteries in Columbia SC 

 6. Faulty Ignition Coil

The ignition coil transfers power from the generator to the spark plugs. The spark plugs then allow the fuel to ignite and combustion to occur. When the ignition coil is bad, however, your car may backfire, have trouble starting, misfire, or stall. Oh, and did we mention bad fuel economy?

Again, worn ignition coils can also wreak havoc on the catalytic converter so it’s important to make sure these are replaced quickly.

Dick Dyer Toyota’s Service and Parts Departments are here for all of your routine maintenance needs.

Auto Service Sales in Columbia SC

Toyota Service SalesNo one wants to bring their car in for service, until something breaks down or falls off that is. So why do we put off regularly scheduled maintenance? We know it’s necessary but who wants to mess with the inconvenience and cost. Plus you never know when you are getting ripped off or being given second-rate parts or repairs.

While these are valid concerns, there is a very simple solution: the Dick Dyer Toyota Service Department, of course! You don’t have to worry about being cheated here – all of our technicians are factory trained and certified and we only use Genuine Toyota Parts. In addition, we have a full service customer lounge that offers a café with free coffee and popcorn, Wi-Fi, premium seating, and televisions.

Oh, and did we mention our service sales? Because we have those too! With such low prices, it is now more affordable (and appealing) than ever for you to finally get that maintenance done that you have been putting off for weeks.

Current Toyota Service Offers:

10K Mile Service – Synthetic Oil: 11% Off

Service Includes:

  • Replace Engine Oil Filter
  • Inspect and Adjust All Fluid Levels
  • Rotate Tires
  • Visually Inspect Brake Linings/Drums and Brake Pads
  • Check Installation of Driver’s Floor Mat
  • Multi-Point Inspection Complimentary

2-Wheel Brake Service: $30.00 Off

Service Includes:

  • Replace Pads
  • Inspect Brake Calipers, Caliper Mounting, and Caliper Hydraulic Hose
  • Check Brake Fluid Level and Master Cylinder
  • Inspect Rotors
  • Multi-Point Inspection Complimentary
  • Road Test Vehicle

30K Mile Service: 16% Off

Service Includes:

  • Inspect and Adjust All Fluid Levels
  • Replace Cabin Air Filter
  • Replace Engine Oil & Air Filter
  • Rotate Tires
  • Inspect Brake Lines and Hoses
  • Inspect Engine Coolant
  • Inspect Front Differential Oil
  • Inspect Fuel Lines and Connections
  • Inspect Radiator and Condenser
  • Inspect Steering Linkage and Boots
  • Inspect Transmission Fluid or Oil
  • Spark Plugs (Additional Cost if Applicable)
  • Multi-Point Inspection Complimentary

4-Wheel Alignment: $10.00 Off

Service Includes:

  • Check Tire Tread and Adjust Tire Air Pressure
  • Check and Adjust Camber, Caster, and Toe-In to Factory Specifications
  • Road Test Vehicle
  • Multi-Point Inspection Complimentary

5K Mile Service: 11% Off

Service Includes:

  • Replace Non-Synthetic Engine Oil and Filter
  • Inspect ad Adjust All Fluid Levels
  • Rotate Tires
  • Visually Inspect Brake Linings/Drums and Brake Pads/Discs
  • Check Installation of Driver’s Floor Mat
  • Multi-Point Inspection Complimentary

5K Mile Service – Synthetic Oil: 11% Off

Service Includes:

  • Inspect ad Adjust All Fluid Levels
  • Rotate Tires
  • Visually Inspect Brake Linings/Drums and Brake Pads/Discs
  • Check Installation of Driver’s Floor Mat
  • Multi-Point Inspection Complimentary

Offers Valid: 01/02/2014-02/16/2014

Toyota Express Maintenance

Express MainenanceWhen it comes to servicing your car, there are a lot of places out there to choose from: the mom and pop shops, the chains, and of course, the dealerships. So where do you choose to go?

Most of the time, the choice comes down to your time and money. You compare prices and see how long it will take for your service to be completed. In the end, the place with the lowest price and shortest wait time is probably going to be the winner.

Toyota Express Maintenance

Well, we here at Dick Dyer Toyota understand that, which is why we are happy to now offer Toyota Express Maintenance.

Firstly, let’s talk money. All Toyota Express Maintenance services are competitively priced to fit into your budget. Routine maintenance is extremely important for keeping your car in proper working condition and Express Maintenance makes these routine services affordable for you.

Next, let’s tackle time. Dealership service departments might not be known for their quick turnaround time but with Toyota Express Maintenance, we will be! The name says it all: Express Maintenance is fast so that you can get your car back in order in the least amount of time possible.

And if that’s not enough, we’ve got another leg up on the competition. With Express Maintenance, all work will be completed by Toyota Factory-Trained technicians who only use Toyota Genuine Parts to ensure quality and reliability. That’s something the shop on the corner can’t say!

There are a variety of services that can be completed through Toyota Express Maintenance, including oil and filter changes, brake inspections, tire rotations, fluid inspections and replacements, and multi-point inspections.

Visit the Dick Dyer Toyota website for more information about Toyota Express Maintenance and to schedule your next service appointment! And don’t forget the Dick Dyer Toyota Service Department offers free Wi-Fi, a Children’s play room, popcorn, and a café!

The Ins and Outs of Checking Your Oil

Check Engine LightWhat’s most important to you in life? Your family, your career, your pet? For some people, it might even be the amount of money in their bank account.

But for a car, the answer is simple: oil. Oil is the most important part of a car’s life; it is the thing that keeps it going, day after day.

No wonder you always hear about oil changes, oil change specials, oil change coupons, oil change this, oil change that. All of that hype isn’t just a marketing ploy. Oil changes really are that important.

So when do you need an oil change? You could follow your car’s manufacturer service guide, but even that is not 100% accurate because it does not take into account your unique driving experience. Your best bet is to regularly check your oil to monitor when it needs to be changed.

This of course brings up another deep and philosophical question: how do I do that!? Don’t worry – this short video will show you everything you need to know about checking your oil. It’s easier than you think! And remember that when it is time to change your oil, the Dick Dyer Toyota Service Department is here is to help!

The Dick Dyer Original Body Shop Receives a Makeover

Dick Dyer Body Shop Located just down the road from Dick Dyer Toyota, the Dick Dyer Original Body Shop has long been the place for collision repair and auto painting in Columbia. That has never been truer than now, thanks to the Body Shop’s revamped building, new equipment, and updated amenities.

Starting with the building itself, the Body Shop was recently expanded to almost 5,000 square feet, resulting in a more spacious, well lit, and child friendly environment. The business office was also expanded, offering more service desks to meet the needs of customers.

In addition, insurance claims have become more convenient and hassle free since the Dick Dyer Body Shop – they have extended their relationship with numerous major insurance companies and fully trained their staff on the claiming process. Plus, the Body Shop has added a satellite Enterprise Rental Car office next to their building that can bill your insurance company directly, making the rental process easier than ever.

And the Dick Dyer Original Body Shop can’t be beat when it comes to auto painting and touch up work now that they have purchased new ultra-efficient painting equipment. This means that emissions resulting from the painting process will be decreased while the quality of the paint work will be unmatched.

Dick Dyer Body Shop Don’t trust your collision repair and auto maintenance to just anyone. The Dick Dyer Original Body Shop has a new ongoing training program that ensures all technicians are up to date on the latest techniques and have met the requirements to receive the highest level of certification. You know you car is in good hands when you choose Dick Dyer.

The Dick Dyer Original Body Shop performs collision repair and service on all makes and models and is located at 3215 Two Notch Road in Columbia, South Carolina. The Body Shop is open from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment, call (888)522-5578 or visit We look forward to working with you!

Summer Tire Care

Summer is fast approaching and you know what that means: road trips! It’s the time of year for packing up the car and heading to your favorite vacation destination. Although summer vacations mean several care-free days for you and your family, it could mean the opposite for your car.

Between the hot weather, long drives, heavy loads, and high speeds, road trips could mean disaster for your tires. What would be worse on your summer vacation than getting a flat tire on a busy and unknown highway?

Make sure that you are prepared before you hit the road. Follow these easy tips to ensure the health of your tires before, during, and after your summer vacation:

  • Visibly check the tires: make sure there are no signs of damage
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated: check the owner’s manual for recommended inflation pressure
  • Check that the car is not overloaded
  • Check the tire tread: low tread or bald tires should be replaced
  • Follow the speed limit: driving too fast in hot weather could be dangerous for your tires

Take a quick 15 minutes to complete these steps. Then all that’s left to do is pack the luggage, strap in the kids, and hit the road!

Maintenance Tips: Changing Your Car’s Air & Fuel Filter

You might not know that changing your car’s air filter and fuel filter is almost as important as changing the oil. Your last oil change might have included a fuel filter change but if it didn’t, your fuel filter could be nearly useless because of the repeated buildup of dust and debris.

As for the air filter, you probably wouldn’t even be able to guess the last time it was replaced.

So are these services really necessary? How important is it to replace these filters? Well, here are the basics of car filters:

Fuel Filter:

The fuel filter works to trap debris in gasoline, ranging from dirt particles to rust. When the filter becomes old and clogged, the debris is no longer filtered out, causing rapid wear of the fuel injection system and fuel pump. In addition, the fuel efficiency of the car will decrease.

Again if the fuel filter is not replaced at regular intervals, it will begin to rust and adhere to the fuel line, making it extremely difficult to remove it and install a new one.  Having it replaced at the appropriate times will prevent these hassles.

Air Filter:

This filter is meant to cleanse the air that is traveling through the engine area. If said air contains dust, debris, gravel, or sand, the air filter will trap these particles and prevent them from entering the engine. In addition, the air filter cleanses the air that enters the vehicle cabin. So it not only creates clean air for the engine, but it also creates clean air for the passengers.

Over time the air filter becomes clogged and less effective. To compensate, the engine will use more fuel to try to extract the air, wasting gas. The performance of your engine and your car’s fuel efficiency will be greatly aided by a new air filter, a simple auto service that does not cost that much.

For more information on when to replace these filters, check your owner’s manual. Been awhile since you’ve replaced these? Come on down to the Dick Dyer Toyota Service Department and we will take care of all of your maintenance needs today!

$1,000 Advantage at Dick Dyer Toyota

What if you had to pay a thousand extra dollars on every new car you purchased? If you are not purchasing a vehicle from Dick Dyer Toyota, you might just have to by the time maintenance, service, and towing fees accumulate over the years.

There is hope; you can avoid these fees. That is because every new Toyota purchased at Dick Dyer Toyota comes with a $1,000 Advantage, which covers the cost of a wide range of auto services and needs. Here is an overview of what the Advantage provides:

  • Full tank of gas at purchase
  • 5,000 mile service
  • Roadside assistance
  • Towing service
  • Rental car
  • Cash wash when in for service
  • Pickup and delivery service
  • 10% off an auto accessory
  • Tire rotations for as long as the vehicle is owned
  • Paintless dent repair during the first 90 days of ownership
  • Touch-up paint service
  • One complimentary detail within the first year of ownership
  • Shuttle/cab service
  • Lifetime parts warranty

When a new car includes all of that at no extra charge, why would you go anywhere else? Learn more about the $1,000 Advantage and stop by Dick Dyer Toyota today!

Dick Dyer Toyota’s January Service Coupons

Dick Dyer Toyota has issued its service coupons for the month of December. Take advantage of these specials:

  • 20% off all detail packages
  • 15% off select maintenance services, including fuel injection system cleaning, fuel induction cleaning, filter replacement, and spark plug replacement
  • $40.00 off timing belt
  • $20.00 off drive belt
  • $199.99 alignment and balance special
  • $30.00 off complete brake service

Check out Dick Dyer Toyota’s service coupon page to get more information on these specials and discover even more great deals. Schedule your next service appointment with Dick Dyer Toyota!

Peace of Mind with Every New Toyota

Dick Dyer Toyota in Columbia, South Carolina is offering ToyotaCare with every purchase or lease of a new Toyota.  Devoted to safety and dependability, Toyota and Dick Dyer want to ensure proper vehicle maintenance, and therefore are offering a 2 year/25,000 mile complimentary maintenance plan.

Factory-trained Toyota technicians will provide all maintenance obligations under the ToyotaCare maintenance plan, which includes:

  • Oil and filter change
  • Lubrication check of key chassis parts
  • Tire rotation
  • Multi-point inspection

In addition, every ToyotaCare plan comes with 24-hr. roadside assistance, which provides the following services:

  • Lockout protection
  • Flat tire changes
  • Jump starts
  • Fluid delivery
  • Towing for the unexpected

Stop by Dick Dyer Toyota to find out more about ToyotaCare’s complimentary worry-free maintenance plan. You can also find more information online at