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31 March 2010 @ 08:40 am
Auto Motives Update  
According to my manual (a used car that came with the original manual! Amazing!), the "Service Engine Soon" light is indeed the "Check Engine" light.

Modifications made to the engine, transaxle, exhaust or fuel system of your vehicle, or the replacement of the original tires with other than those of the same Tire Performance criteria (TPC) can affect your vehicle's emission controls and may cause the "Service Engine Soon" light to come on.

Obviously, I just changed a tire -- it's the same kind as the other three, but there are differences in wear patterns, and I don't know if they checked and filled the pressure in the old ones, so there might be enough difference there to freak the chip out.

Rewiring the fuel pump might also count as "modifications to the fuel system".

halfelf revealed that AutoZone stores will check the OBD II chip for free, so, once I grab a shower, I'll head out to the closest one.

[[Edit: Crap. No, they don't, anymore—at least not in California. Argh.]]

I didn't mention the odd not-quite-metallic smell that I noticed when I got out of the car last night; thoughtsdriftby confirmed it. If it was coming from my car, then it might still be a bit more complicated than New Tires.

Oy.

 
 
 
Aetobatusaeto on March 31st, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
I second someone's suggestion previously to pick up an ODB reader. They are reasonably cheap (see, for example, http://amzn.com/B001LHVOVK or http://amzn.com/B000GBC60A), and you may be able to find someone around who has one. (If I were still down there, I'd happily loan you mine.)

I got mine on the trip from Chicago to Seattle when, just half a day into the three day drive, the light came on. Picked one up in an auto parts store, and discovered my idle speed sensor was bad. Turns out all that causes is the car to idle a bit faster than desired, so I ignored it, and it eventually fixed itself (go figure).

It's one of those things you don't need often, but as modern cars get older, it's more and more useful. Luckily, the connectors and protocol are mandatory and all the same for all cars bought in the US for the past decade or so.
FlamingWarsflamingwars on March 31st, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
What car do you drive? What are its mileage?

Was it a sweet smell? If so that could be related to your engine coolant. Check out and see if you're low on that.

Have you checked your oil levels? Gotta check the oil dipstick and see if they're between the two dots.

Gotta check around for leaks. Check hoses for any punctures.

It's hard to say where to look, usually when the check engine light comes on it is when it had to do with some kind of simple sensor failing or something.

Hope this helps.
Your Obedient Serpent: coyote drivesathelind on March 31st, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
2000 Saturn Station Wagon, just over 110K miles on it. (I bought it at around 100K.)

I can't really describe the smell beyond "huh, that's not right." =)

I DID just put oil in it yesterday, BEFORE the light came on; despite using a funnel, I probably spilled some at some point. I'd let it get waaaay too low, though, so the filter may have gotten gunked up or something.

We checked the coolant and all that.

Given the Perfect Storm of Fuel Pump Wiring and One New Tire (how can the chip even DETECT that?), it's looking likely that it's somehow related to Sunday night's adventure.

Now if I can just work through the PTSD!
FlamingWarsflamingwars on March 31st, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
Don't worry just yet, it happens to all cars sometimes.

It can be something simple as just having a mechanic resetting the computer to replacing a sensor that can cost like 20USD. The question really depends on how many things need to come out of the hood to do so. :P

Anywho, I've heard during my time in mechanic class that the check engine light pops up after at times like 15k, 50k, 100k, etc so that owners would go and do preventative care. Check belts and whatnot but it's possible that it could involve the fuel pump wiring.

As for the tire, I doubt it, I mean there are chips in cars nowadays that tell you about tire pressure and whatnot so there should be a special icon in your dashboard. Check your manual about that.

As for the oil, you gotta be careful with that stuff. Considering your car has an I-4 engine, having four valves, 4 quarts and then alittle bit more should be what you need to add. I take it that you haven't changed the filter, and that's a possibility. But I'm more worried about letting the oil get low. But if that was the case, the oil lamp would have lit up. That's a scary light you should never want to see on. :x

I presume that when you drove your car there really wasn't any difference in performance?

It could be the spark plugs, or the distributor, it all depends on what that code says.

If it misfired, that would be your culprit. A misfired is when one valve doesn't go off like it's suppose to and you'll probably notice the difference in power.

Buuut if there is nothing noticeable in your driving then my guess is a sensor.

Buy one of those OBD II sensors, and then return it when you're done. Check out their return policy to make sure they'll take it back. Or take it to a mechanic that can test it/fix it for ya.

If the fluids are where they're suppose to be, and the hoses are all fine then the problem most likely lies somewhere in the engine, or the exhaust.

I hope you find the solution to all that. A hassle I know, I'm going through a bit of car troubles myself. It's Spring fault I say! :]