Top 10 check-engine-light car repairs

When a dashboard light suddenly appears, it could indicate a problem that could cost anywhere from 11 cents to $11K to fix. Either way, it's best not to ignore it.

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215Comments
Jun 11, 2014 8:33PM
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heheTook my 97 lexus to a dealer because the light was on they told me i needed mufflers and converter.Took to meineke for a free test,guess what I needed a gas cap.The dealers will screw you.
Jun 11, 2014 7:03PM
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Your car is trying to tell you to get an inexpensive code reader, and at least be able to narrow down the issue.  Easy to plug in, easy to use, and informative.  Get one.  It isn't infallible, but it is way better than ignoring the light.  Might be nothing...might be serious.  Find out.
Jun 11, 2014 10:48PM
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Some of the problems are caused by our government themselves.  The government also contributes to the high cost of repairs.  Just 2 examples:


The loose gas cap causes the computer system to observe that it is not possible to pull a vacuum in the gas tank to collect fuel vapors.  The same problem is caused by a small hole in the fuel system such as one caused by excessive use of salt and the resultant corrosion.


Catalytic converters do have a life expectancy which is shortened by other engine issues.  The government has made it impossible to purchase a used but useable one from a salvage yard.  The choices are to ignore the problem or spend several hundred dollars to purchase a new one.


Life will be better and cheaper when we get bureaucrats in Washington that actually know something and have some common sense. 

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I couldn't fix my brakes, so i made my horn louder :)
Jun 12, 2014 10:26AM
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My check engine light came on and I checked. Sure enough the engine was still there!
Jun 12, 2014 12:20AM
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MSN...the biggest joke for real news.   How about letting us comment on the thousands and thousands of children coming across the southern borders  OR how about letting us comment on Iraq asking the U.S. for airstrikes, nope no comment sections on really really important issues.
Jun 11, 2014 8:53PM
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We had a roving weak spot that kept giving us check engine messages. $300 later, we gave up and ignored it. Ford sent us a letter that said sometimes the warning system fails and you just can't stay ahead of it. the last time we tried, we got less than a mile from the dealer when it quit. All they seem to be checking is the credit limit on the plastic card!
Jun 11, 2014 9:06PM
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Worn or faulty ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR will make your car's computer go crazy. It almost made me crazy finding the problem. What happened, it went bad and told the computer that the engine was ice cold. It never turned on the fans, overheating the engine which in turn overheated the fuel rail. Vapor lock occurred which is simply turning fuel into a vapor. Injectors fail, car runs rough or stops and you have to wait for the engine to cool before you can start it again.  CHECK THIS OUT WITH THE OTHER IDEAS IN THE ARTICLE. it'll save you hundreds...maybe thousands of dollars.  
Jun 11, 2014 7:57PM
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You can get a code reader that will work with your smartphone on Amazon for under $20. But knowing what to do with the information can be a whole lot more difficult! Just because you have an "evap leak - large" code does not necessarily mean that a new gas cap will fix the problem. And a "cat efficiency" code does mean you need a new catalytic converter, but it does not tell you why. Unless you have real diagnostic skills, an experienced repair shop is the cheapest way out of these problems.
Jun 11, 2014 6:54PM
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Nearly every auto parts store has a diagnostic computer they will loan you to get the error code.  Then you can buy the part and fix it yourself if it's a sensor etc.  Unfortunately the old " remove the light bulb" trick doesn't get you past the smog computer.
Jun 11, 2014 11:25PM
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Auto Parts stores can't read all codes, I had a light on in my 2004 Hyundai Tiburon they couldn't read it, I had to take it some where else their still is some honest repair shops out their, there not all crooks just ask questions get more than one opinion if you need.
Jun 12, 2014 10:33AM
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It could be worse. You could have a lawyer repair your car. If he does not kill you with the price he will kill you with argument.
Jun 12, 2014 8:05AM
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The day I have to call into Suze Orman's show to ask permission to buy something is the day I want to die.
Jun 11, 2014 8:28PM
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I got the same reading my car--took it back to the dealer where they fixed it right away--kind of expensive--It was a defective FUEL INJECTOR.


Runs great now that it has been fixed.



Jun 11, 2014 10:19PM
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If the engine is not running rough and if fuel economy has not changed, then most likely it's an emmission control systems issue which is not urgent. Many of the items in this article can be replaced DIY at great savings. You can also try resetting the light by disconnecting the battery for 30 minutes before reconnecting to see if the light comes back on, or if it was a nusiance warning. Auto parts stores will run the code for free and advise you on what your options are.
Jun 11, 2014 9:05PM
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I brought my car to AAMCO Transmissions in Queens Village, New York, and the owner scanned it and it cost me nothing.   It's great to have honest mechanics.    I go to them whenever I have a problem and they are always fair, reasonable and take the time to really explain what's going on.   Go there for all my oil changes.  My car has been running great for over 10 years now!   
Jun 11, 2014 11:51PM
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I chuckle when the service folks tell me "Well, unless it is actually making that noise or that light is illuminated, we can't really tell what the problem is. The next time it happens bring it in".
Jun 12, 2014 11:23AM
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it is amazing that in the year 2014 you have a car with a 10 inch touchscreen with GPS navigation and all kinds of information and entertainment, but the best that that the engine diagnostics can do is say "help I've fallen..." and turn on an idiot light that you have to pay someone to check for you.

 

This is obviously a conspiracy.

Jun 12, 2014 12:19PM
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it's usually just a bad sensor...


cars would not be breaking down all the time if we didn't have them loaded with electronics and complexity...

Jun 11, 2014 8:33PM
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Actually my truck burns oil so fast that I figure  I change oil once a month. It still passes tests.
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