• 4 Common Causes of Check Engine Lights

    Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden, your check engine light comes on? Well, don’t panic because it’s more common than you think. In this blog post, we’ll list the most common causes of the check engine light turning on, so you can be prepared and deal with it quickly if it happens to you. Keep reading to learn more from Fort Collins Muffler & Automotive.

    Failing Oxygen Sensor

    1. Failing Oxygen Sensor

    One common issue that can cause your check engine light to turn on is a failing oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor is responsible for monitoring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust system, and if it detects a drop in oxygen levels, it will trigger the check engine light. Fort Collins Muffler & Automotive can help you diagnose and repair this problem, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

    Open gas tank

    2. Loose or Faulty Gas Cap

    Many times, the cause of the check engine light is a simple issue, such as a loose or faulty gas cap. A gas cap that is not tight can cause the fuel system to leak, triggering the check engine light. At Fort Collins Muffler & Automotive, we can inspect your gas cap and perform a fuel system pressure test to check for leaks.

    close up of underside of a car

    3. Failing Catalytic Converter

    One of the most common services we perform is catalytic converter replacement. A failing catalytic converter is a common cause of check engine lights turning on, and it can lead to a decrease in fuel economy and engine performance. If you have noticed that your check engine light is on, or if you have noticed any decreases in fuel economy or engine performance, we highly recommend bringing your vehicle in for an inspection.

    Spark Plug Problems

    4. Spark Plug Problems

    Over time, spark plugs can become fouled with carbon deposits or worn out, causing misfires and triggering the check engine light. One of the most common reasons we see cars come into our shop with a check engine light is due to spark plug problems. If you’re experiencing any issues with your vehicle, or if your check engine light is on, bring it into Fort Collins Muffler & Automotive for a professional diagnosis and repair.

    If your check engine light is on, don’t panic. There are a few common causes that we can help you with here at Fort Collins Muffler & Automotive. Schedule your service today and we’ll take a look at what’s going on under the hood. We’re always here to help you keep your car running smoothly.

  • A Rise in Catalytic Converter Theft Across Colorado

    Most people know that their vehicle has a Catalytic Converter but don’t worry about it. A recent and distrurbing trend forces attention on protecting against damage or theft of this device. Theft impacts vehicle maintenance, while increasing auto repair costs. A surge in thefts, especially since the start of the pandemic, is cause for concern, especially for owners of newer vehicles. Across the nation, more than 14,400 Catalytic Converters were stolen around the country in 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

    This problem is growing here in Colorado as well. Denver police report that from January to May 2020 they had 23 such thefts. For the same period in 2021, they report 980 thefts. There are several ways for local vehicle owners to help prevent this from happening to them.

    Impact On All Types of Vehicles

    As an anti-pollution device, vehicles of all shapes and sizes have environmental requirements. The cost of a replacement Catalytic Converter is generally now in the $1,000 to $2,000 price range. This does not include any other auto repairs or labor charges from the mechanic. Not long ago, the typical cost was around $350, prior to the recent environmental considerations. Thieves that sell them in quantity generate thousands of dollars. In addition, many are made with precious metals which could also fetch hundreds of dollars. Larger vehicles, including most trucks, often contain multiple converters. 

    Solving The Problem In Ft. Collins

    This type of theft can happen here in Fort Collins. Even though most auto insurance covers theft loss, it may not cover an auto repair. The vehicle owner may face a large deductible. Because of the need for replacements, even the best mechanic can face a delay in getting a new one.

    Reducing The Need For Auto Repairs

    One strategy to protect your vehicle’s Catalytic Converter is to etch the VIN number on to the Converter. This would prevent a licensed mechanic from installing it elsewhere. Another method is to apply bright colored paint , making it far less attractive to thieves. Some models of cars allow for covers to protect the Converter. These cost in the range of $200. A mechanic can install it, most likely with an added labor cost. A car alarm system should respond to activity underneath the car, especially for vehicles sitting high off the ground.

    Additional Steps Fort Collins Residents Can Take

    This rise in theft is a reminder to be aware of where your vehicle is at all times. These thefts tend to happen when a vehicle is outside and unattended. Examples are grocery store, medical center, and office building parking lots.

    Checking the Catalytic Converter is a part of the vehicle maintenance a licensed mechanic performs. You want to keep your auto repair costs down as much as possible even when you are not a theft victim. Precautions such as covering or painting over your Catalytic Converter could save you hundreds of dollars. Having a top notch alarm system and parking safely also help.

    Let our expert mechanic perform vehicle maintenance at your convenience. Schedule your appointment today.