Check Engine light

kurokuro Member Posts: 8
edited October 2014 in General
Check Engine light questions.


  • kurokuro Member Posts: 8
    88 Integra with 130,000 mi. After running at freeway speed for about three minutes, check engine light comes on (doesn't when driving on city streets). If engine is shut off momentarily, light does not come back on for awhile. Doesn't appear to be any performance effects. Mechanic checked computer--said there was no code. Anyone have an idea?
  • aktakt Member Posts: 1
    I have the opposite problem with my 91 Tercel w/ 60k miles: Comes on during city driving, but then turns off when on the freeway. Sometimes it stays on for a few days, sometimes just a few minutes. And the times it comes on is just as eradic. My Tercel also doesn't seem to have any performance effects...
  • christiankchristiank Member Posts: 3
    I'm having the same problem with my 96 Acura Integra. The check engine light keeps coming on and going off by itself (about 5 times in the last 250 miles). I've only bought it 1 week ago, and I'm a little worried about it. Anybody ran any OBDII diagnostics on a car with a flaky check engine light?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    these things can drive you crazy sometimes and there isn't always an answer readily available. You might all check your catalytic converters, especially on the cars with higher mileages, if no codes come up.
  • jags3jags3 Member Posts: 1
    The most "common cause" of the "check engine" light is the Exhaust Gas Recirculation
    (E.G.R.) valve on most Asian vehicles. Although
    it is sometimes quite disconcerting to have the
    light come on it is usually not harmful to the engine or it's performance. The E.G.R. valve is
    exposed to high temperatures and it can get
    "carbon fouled" easily and therefore send a
    signal to the Electronic Control Module (E.C.M.)
    that there may be a problem (not necessarily
    a significant one).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yes, that's a good suggestion...on some cars, if the EGR valve and the tube that routes it are clogged, that can get pricey, they're hard to clean out. But you should have gotten a code on that, I would think. Definitely worth checking!
  • dhoffdhoff Member Posts: 282
    This is in reference to akt's Tercel and kuro's Integra -

    Another cause of the check engine light coming on in a higher-mileage car is a faulty oxygen sensor.

    Should still store a code, though. Shouldn't anything that causes the light to go on store a code?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You'd think so, but he says no, so we're trying to diagnose based on that information.
  • norvettenorvette Member Posts: 1
    On most fords the check engine light comes on for no other reason but to get you to take the car in for a tune up and check up. (at about 60,000 miles). There is a reset the repair person resets to clear the light. On a van is is on the passenger side , in front of the door, hid behind the side panel. Hold in reset, turn on key switch, then release the reset switch.
  • texanandproudtexanandproud Member Posts: 1
    I bought my new 323i and was cruising around to break in the engine when my check engine light came on. I come from the discipline that treats engine lights as the almighty word, so when my dealer told me it was because I didn't tighten my gas cap all the way I almost went ballistic. Does anyone else think there should be a separate light for exhaust/emissions problems that need to be attended to, but don't neccessitate panic?
  • kurokuro Member Posts: 8
    The mechanic referred said that the manual mentions "intermittent" warning lights, as possibly explaining why the computer is not holding a code. If the engine is shut off just for an instant, the light doesn't come back on until the engine is run for awhile, which may explain why. Is it posssible to check the computer (which unfortunately is located under the passenger seat) without first shutting off the engine?
  • christiankchristiank Member Posts: 3
    The mechanic that was working on my 96 Integra (14k miles) with a flaky check-engine light, told me that they found a loose wire in a connector. They thought they fixed it, but the light kept coming back on. Now they've ordered a new wiring harness for it. We'll see if that fixes it.

    Kuro, one (expensive) way to diagnose your problem, might be getting a diagnostic module yourself ($250). You need a laptop for it, but I think you can just run it while you are driving, and instanteneous get a readout. It also tells you other interesting things, such as engine load, oxygen sensor readings etc. Most of them in real time.
  • DBILLSDBILLS Member Posts: 4
    I have a '94 MB C280 and just had a problem with the "check engine" light coming on for about a week. As it turned out, the battery in the car dit not have enough voltage, even though the battery never died completely. The engine data code pointed to not having enough voltage. The problem went away with the replacement of the battery. I also had the entire charging system tested. Everything was fine except for the battery.

    It might warrant having the battery tested.
  • jud123jud123 Member Posts: 2
    My check engine light and ETSoff lights keep coming on at the same time. my car has 58,000 miles...i keep taking to the shop and every time they say its fixed but once i drive it for 35 miles (highway) the light comes back on...any comments welcomed
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    A point to intermittent fault in an O2 sensor on a pre OBD-II car (generally pre-1996) may not set a hard code. A decrease in fuel economy may indicate an O2 sensor.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    Oops......forgot to mention one far as loose fuel cap codes, etc, most people get upset with the car manufacturer for the check engine light coming on.....remember, the check engine light and certain parameters relating to emmissions are set by the US government, not BMW, Ford, Chevy, etc.

    Also, to the person with the 96 Cavalier....if you cycle the ignition key 5 times, the check engine light will go off....until the same fault occurs again. My suggestion, cycle the key 5 times, bring your car to the used car lot, and leave the engine running, while it's being traded in...
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    another way to correct the problem is to remove the bulb......I'm sorry......that's not legal, so scratch that thought......
  • zl1zl1 Member Posts: 16
    does the light stay on?if so it is an emmision's issue.There is also a pressure check valve used on the cavalier to read fuel tank pressure,in other words it checks to see if the gas cap is on and what condition the cap is in.Have your mechanic go through this system.
    The valve itself is located behind the fuel injection system.
  • ratchratch Member Posts: 21
    Old batteries ands slipping belts are quite often the source of intermittent check engine lights.

    A word of caution -- diagnostic codes have to be understood within the context of the system's operation. If not, many mechanics start "easteregging" hoping they'll stumble into a fix.
  • christiankchristiank Member Posts: 3
    So a new wiring harness didn't do it for my 96 Integra with flaky check engine light. But once the harness was replaced, the light stayed on. Finally they managed to get a code out of it, it turned out to be the evaporative cannister solenoid.
  • zl1zl1 Member Posts: 16
    The loose gas cap was not related to a bmw,rather a chevrolet,that info will not apply to every make and model...........
  • ratchratch Member Posts: 21
    1995 Dodge Intrepid 3.5 -- anybody know how to read out the codes without special equipment? Might be in the book, but so far alot of the tech data I've gotten for this product has been wrong.

    Almost as bad as working on early Japanese cars!
  • tason67tason67 Member Posts: 36
    My Stratus has generally been a lemon, with multiple head gasket repairs, tie rods, etc. Now at 62,000 miles, my check engine light has come on. I have not noticed any change in the way the car is running and have stopped driving it since the light came on; will take it to dealer on Tuesday. I know that there could be a myriad of problems, but in general, am I looking at an expensive repair? thanks for your help :)
  • binubinu Member Posts: 81
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  • welwel Member Posts: 2
    96 Lexus 300
    Anyone know of problems with engine warning light
    leading to serious engine trouble or voiding of warranty at less than 30,000?
  • butter98butter98 Member Posts: 1
    My car is a 94 Mercury Capri convert and my engine light keeps coming on and off as I am driving. Every time the light comes on the engine kicks a little or feels like it is losing power.
    I have 150K on the car.
    what is wrong with my car
    and what should I do with it?
  • jivarojivaro Member Posts: 13
    I have had this "check engine" light coming on approx every 5,000 miles in my 92 Toyota Camry (105,000 miles now)since approx 90,000 miles. I have been told by various sources that the oxygen sensor gets "fouled" and thus turns on the light. I have purchased some of the high end gasoline additives (approx $12) in K-Mart, Walmart, etc. and run that through the system on an almost empty tank. The check engine light then goes off in less than 5 miles, not to be seen again for approx 5,000 miles. This seems to have helped me, with a high mileage car. For those of you with low mileage cars, perhaps the emissions settings are very sensitive and you should try a different brand of gas or a higher octane gas every few tanks. Hope this helps.
  • rcruzrcruz Member Posts: 5
    I had the "check engine" light come on in my new 98 Honda Civic Hatchback after 3,700 miles. At the dealer, I was told the codes indicated a misfire, which was blamed on non-detergent gasoline and too many short trips. An additive was added to the gasoline tank, to clean the fuel injectors, and I was advised to switch to Chevron, Exxon, or Texaco gasolines. I did, and the problem never reappeared. I now have 9,500 miles on the car. I always used 87 octane, both before and after the incident.
  • gingernycgingernyc Member Posts: 1
    My check engine light came on the weekend, and I went ballistic. I had no idea what it meant or what the problem was.

    I took my car to the dealership that MOnday and they ran a computer diagnostic check on my vehicle and only "minor" things came up.

    What sparked it off was that my spark plugs and my spark plugs wires were shot, so all i had to do was replace those, which I did and everything was fine.

    Of course the dealership tried to rip me off, because I'm a woman, they said i need a new PCV valve, air filter, fuel filter, distributor cap,so on and so forth and they would charge me $500. I looked at him like he was an alien.

    I bought the spark plugs (platinum) and the wires myself and had my friend put them in, my car is running better than ever.
  • cosmic5cosmic5 Member Posts: 1
    Help! I purchased a new 1999 Sebring Convertible and two days after I picked it up, the check engine light came on. I took back to dealer and diagnostics showed a fuel vapor leak, but they inspected everything and could not find it so they reset the light. Two days later, the same thing happened. The dealer said to bring back on Monday so they could work on it again. As explainedd to me, they went down a flowchart to check everything, still found no problems so replaced the fuel evaporative pump. So far they have had the car longer than I have trying to repair this problem. Went and turned the car on this morning and the light stayed on again. I am about to cry over this. Why can't they find the problem? I am planning to try to use the lemon law because I can't deal with taking the car back to them every other day. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you. One last thought, the light always stays off for one day after they have worked on it, then comes on the following morning.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    #29> what year and model car do you own?
  • albertaguyalbertaguy Member Posts: 2
    i own a 1989 pontiac grand am i just changed the tcc solenoid in it.
    just removed pan removed and replaced solenoid and replaced pan.started the engine and the service engine soon light appears. it flashes code 26 which means Q.D.M. quad driver module. checked vacuum hoses seem good. haynes manual tells you that its to complex to go into detail so take it to said the same thing for the tcc solenoid which took an hour and dealer wanted 400 dollars to replace. but anyways the light comes on when idling only,it wont come on while driving i can drive an hour stop and let it idle for two or three minutes and the light will come on. any info would be greatly appreciated thankx
  • jjcajjca Member Posts: 4
    I just bought a 1999 Mercedes E-320. Two days after buying it, the check engine light came on. It was hauled off to the dealer, and the day after it was returned, it came back on. This time I kept the car for a couple of days and realized it would do so only in the morning, and the car would run real rough. In the afternoon, it would run fine, and the light would be off. The car coded a missfire in a cylinder the first time, so they changed that spark plug. The seconde time it coded a misfire in another cylinder, so they changed all the spark plugs. That seemed to work, because so far it hasn't come back on. And yes, out of the 14 days I've owned the car, it's been in the shop 8 days. I'm no mechanic, but hope this helps.
  • donkingdonking Member Posts: 2
    1999 VW Cabrio is a LEMON
    Attention VW Cabrio Buyers.....
    Bought a 1999 VW Cabrio GLS (new A-4 body), at
    108 miles CHECK ENGINE LIGHT came on, took to
    dealer (they said they fixed it).... CHECK ENGINE
    LIGHT back on at 479 miles... took to dealer (they
    said they fixed it).... CHECK ENGINE LIGHT back on
    at 538 miles (dealer kept cat one week, said was
    fixed)...... back on at 918 miles.. took to dealer (kept two days), dealer said it was fixed... WHEN I PICKED UP THE CAR... DRIVING OUT OF THE DEALERS LOT.... CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAME ON AGAIN.... STILL ON DEALER LOT AFTER THEY SAID IT WAS FIXED....... WHAT DO YOU THINK????? ANY ADVICE...
  • MULAWYERMULAWYER Member Posts: 24
    I have a 99 Camry with similar problems...light went on twice in the First 700 miles. Dealer says that 99 camry's have this problem and that he'd let me know when it was corrected on toyota's end. Three months later, I'm still waiting. I've been told most of the same things as the rest of you "gas cap", "sensitve system", etc. One question for those with this problem, what type of gas is used in your areas? We have reformulated (10% CRAP) gas which also caused a problem in my 96 Cavalier when we moved here. Just a thought.
  • alextalext Member Posts: 63
    Don't jump to conclusions, Don King, you'll just turn your hair even more white than it already is (just kidding).

    Truth is, those incessant "check engine" lights that have existed in cars for a decade too long are about as accurate as astrology in identifying car problems. Most often, this light indicates that some oxygen sensors in your engine are detecting an incorrect level of oxygen in the fuel mix. The result, slightly lower gas mileage. As Mulawyer said, switching to a better gas type or checking your gas cap may solve the problem. I wouldn't consider the car a "lemon", though.
  • hervatoshervatos Member Posts: 2
    I coming into this post a bit late in the game, but I have been experiencing an intermitent check engine light for approx 2 months. Dealer says not critical. They would have to do diagnostic and wait for the problem to occur before they could determine the source. I find that the light goes off when I accelerate though. And when I turn the engine off and on again, the light disappears. No noticable change in the car's operation when the light comes on. Under the Turbo post under Accessories, it was suggested that over-oiling a K&N type filter, may result in the excess oil coating 'a part', causing faulty readings, resulting in a check engine light. I'd like to solve this prior to getting rid of the car and getting my new Suburu this fall. Any suggestions besides those already posted?
  • gggphdgggphd Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1995 Cadillac Deville with 4.9 engine and 78,000 miles. "Service engine soon" light comes on after a brief period of interstate driving, yielding a PO39 code which is a transmission code. Turning off the engine turns off the light on restart, only to come on again in a short time. Car drives fine. Transmission shop can't find any problems. Dealer suggested it might be one or both of two transmission sensors. Any other ideas?
  • wemeadwemead Member Posts: 2
    I have 1 92 Pontiac Transport with the 3800 engine and 125000 miles. The check engine light comes on shortly after starting down the road and will go on and off sporadically during driving. Had my shop look at it and they say there is not code in the computer. Any thoughts? Thanks.
  • hervatoshervatos Member Posts: 2
    Well, did some of my own work on this. I checked my Haynes manual which provides detailed instructions on how to check for codes. Actually, all you need is an analog voltmeter and you read the codes by the number of times the needle on the meter sweeps. Worked great!! The error code was stored luckily and turns out it is a problem with the Throttle Position Sensor. It is closely associated with the Idle Speed Control motor which the dealer replaced approximately 3 months ago. Funny thing is, my check engine light began illuminating intermitently only 3 days after the dealer changed the ISC motor. Needless to say, I have spoken with the service manager and have an appointment at the dealer next week. I couldn't have reached this point with all the info provided in this post. Thanks to all.
  • ratchratch Member Posts: 21
    From these posts, it is clear that the car makers could take a lesson from aircraft designers and get the check engine light out of the driver's face.

    The system's could be alot smarter -- and graduated to store insignificant faults -- maybe flash the check engine light for a couple of seconds on start-up.

    The problem is that the systems use ladder logic which means they are overly ignorant about the systems they monitor.

    Oh well, guess it keeps the dealers busy!
  • dhoffdhoff Member Posts: 282
    If your computer didn't store a trouble code, then it's a guessing game. I'm surprised your dealer, which should have a lot of experience with this particular vehicle, didn't make an educated guess as to what caused the light to come on.

    My guess? The oxygen sensor or throttle position sensor. I would suggest searching out a GOOD independent garage and have them check it out. It may even be worth your while to have them replace the O2 and TP sensors if they don't find anything. They are relatively low-cost parts and usually pretty easy to replace.

  • bigzackbigzack Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a '99 Subaru Legacy GT in March. It developed the dreaded Check Engine light in early June. It was reset at the dealership I bought it from, just to come back the next day. Last week, upon further inspection, the Automatic Transmission Control Module was found to be the problem. Hasnt given me any problems yet, however I was pretty steamed that my dealer tried to make me pay for a rental car while my 2 month old car was being looked at.
  • pfschimpfschim Member Posts: 29
    cosmic5 - I bought a 99 DC 300M and had 35 days of check engine lite BS as well. Looking at your post looks like my dealer did about the same stuff to my car as yours (reset, replace vacuum pump etc). Finally turned out to be a split hose inside the gas tank which the dealer service shop felt had happened during manufacturing. Also, the reason the light comes back on after a day or so is that the vehicle computer only does global checks that detect errors like this one every 5-8 starts, so you could easily go a day or so before the problem would be detected and reported via the check engine light again.

    Mine was finally fixed 3 weeks ago and has not come back. In either case, it sure was a pain in the butt.
  • jd4him007jd4him007 Member Posts: 1
    service engine soon engine runs then quits and keeps making a clicking sound like a relay but i dont know what it is. thanks jd4
  • grinnengrinnen Member Posts: 2
    I have a 98 Nissan truck 4x4 extcab and the service engin soon light came on for the second time now (21500 mile) dealer also tells me nothing to worry about. But the thing is I want to get rid of this not so comfortable truck and buy a Toyota T 100, I have 89 Toyota 4x4 extcab
    that with 184000 miles on it is still better then the Nissan. I would have bought another Toy but the dealer are such arrogant S.O.B. I couldn't take the stress~!! Tex
  • traindrivertraindriver Member Posts: 328
    I just posted a long note on the Mazda Millenia S site--similar problems: gas cap, cylinder misfire???,blah blah blah. I guess I can take comfort (discomfort???) in knowing I am not alone. If I had the $$$$, I would have put this thing back on someone's lot!!!! I guess I will have to live with it though. At least it is under warranty for another year--13K miles---after that I guess it will be $$$$ all the time: this really gripes my @#$ !!!! Otherwise a great & reliable car.....
  • maximagirl1maximagirl1 Member Posts: 2
    Hi it's Maximagirl here...I have the same problem. The 'service engine soon' light just came on what is that? Is it something I have to get fixed ASAP or is it some way for Nissan to get you scared to visit a dealer and have additional servicing done before you really needit?? Anyone else out there know the answer??
  • dhoffdhoff Member Posts: 282
    The first thing to check in a late-model car with a check engine light on is that the gas cap is tight (believe it or not). The gas cap is considered part of the emission control system (controls evaporative emissions) and there is some kind of sensor that turns on the light if it's not tight. I have been told that it has to do with how many times the gas cap "clicks" when you tighten it. Supposedly it has to click 3 times.

    The check engine light will also go off if you fill up your car without turning off the engine.

    If neither of these is the case, it could be a lot of things. A trip to the dealer may then be in order.

  • rondorirondori Member Posts: 8
    This '89 Shadow's check engine light was coming on and going off for 4 years. We would pat the dashboard and say "good car". Sometimes this seemed to help. It had 120,000 miles on it when she abandoned it for a '98 Mercury. Her father traded it as partial payment to some guys who painted his house. As far as I know, it's still puttering around somewhere.

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