why does my check engine light came on and off
I was without a trusted mechanic for awhile, but I wanted to have the coolant flushed on my old car. I made an appointment to have it done at a smallish shop that I had never been to. I signed the work order for the coolant flush with the manager, and then the keys were handed off to the wrench that was going to do it. I always watch when I can when my cars are getting worked on, so I went to my car with him. "I wouldn't flush this if I were you. The radiator is all corroded. "
"Cool. Let me get the money together and I will have you put in a new radiator for me. Oh, by the way, do you think the coolant is still good? " He pulls out the little $3 bulb coolant tester, sucks some up, and says "It's fine. " So I say thanks and he says no problem. I get one foot in my car and this fucking manager runs out after me screaming "That's a coolant diagnostic! It's $24. 95! " I told him he was out of his fucking mind and if he wanted to get technical, I never authorized a "coolant test" on the work order, nor did the wrench tell me it would cost me anything.
I asked him what he charges to check the air in my tires and then drove away with him screaming about the calling the cops. Sure enough, I get home and the cops are on the phone telling me I have to come back and pay and then if I dispute it I have to go to small claims court. If I don't come pay, they will arrest me. So I go back down and the cops are waiting for me. He had written in after the fact on the work order "Coolant Diagnostic: $24. 95". I had some choice words with him and made sure to tell all the other customers to watch out. I have told everybody I can about this shop and about the asshole that runs it. Some of the people I tell this story to agree with me, but some say information costs money.
Was I wrong? Is this the world now? Youвre driving along, singing a song, and everythingвs fine and dandy. Then you see it в the orange-red glow of the check engine light. And suddenly lifeвs not so hunky-dory anymore. Do you drive straight home? Pull over? Check something? Panic?! While there are literally dozens of reasons your check engine light may be triggered, there s typically no need to panic. Hereвs why. 1. В It might just be your gas cap Many people don t know this, but a loose, cracked, or faulty gas cap can cause fuel to evaporate, thus cuing your check engine light. So first things first, pull over (as soon as it s safe) and make sure your gas cap is on tight. If this was indeed the trigger, your check engine light should go off within 10 or 20 miles once you re back on the road. 2. В A certified mechanic should be able to diagnose the problem easily Technology is on its way to helping us figure out what s gone wrong when the check engine light comes on.
But for now, whenever that pesky light comes on, your best bet is to take your car to a certified mechanic and let them diagnose the problem. 3. В Itвs typically not an emergency Here s where there s some good news. Unlike some of the other lights in your car (your oil light, for example) that could mean a big problem if you donвt address it right away, your check engine light rarely signals anything disastrous. When it comes on you re probably okay to drive a few more miles or even a few more days. (That being said, do the smart thing and take it to see a mechanic as soon as you can. ) 4. В There are numerous reasons the light may come on Aside from a loose gas cap, all other reasons for your check engine light coming on are much more complicated to diagnose (and likely not things you can fix on the side of the road).
Triggers can include everything from a damaged vacuum hose or ignition coil(s) to a failing catalytic converter to worn out spark plugs (just to name a few). No idea what any of that means? That s OK в most of us don t. Most modern cars have an on-board diagnostic system that provides a code identifying the specific issue at hand. If you take your car to a pro or even select auto part stores, they can figure out what the code means so you can act accordingly. So when you see that light flickering in the corner of your dash, know that while you will need to see a mechanic in the near future, thereвs absolutely no need to panic. Itвs ok to keep going, just make sure you have it checked out as soon as you can. Got more roadside questions? Here s how to, and what to doВ.
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