Blogging 365, Day 20: Car Trouble


check-engine-lightWhile driving home from work on Friday I had a little car trouble. I was almost home when the dreaded “check engine” (CEL) light reared its ugly illuminated head. You know, the light that means anything from the oxygen sensor (whatever the hell that is anyway) went out “Holy crap, your car is about ready to combust and you’d better exit soon”? That’s the one.

From my limited automobile technology experience, based on the way the car was running it felt as if one of the spark plug wires went out and I was only running on 3 cylinders. So I gave my neighbor – a certified ASE mechanic who owns his own shop – a call to ask him what he thought it could be.

He checked it out today. Based on the reading from his handy-dandy little scanner thingy that he connected to my car, he assessed that the #4 coil was bad which pretty much meant that my guess of the spark plug wire being faulty was almost right. (I soon learned that newer cars have coils rather than wires.) But to eliminate any guesswork, he switched the #4 coil with the #3 coil to see if that was the case.

The result:

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He was right. As you can see, the #3 cylinder was misfiring after he swapped it with the #4 coil. The #4 cylinder was fine even after using the #3 coil.

This gives me a little peace of mind. Now I can call the dealer’s service department for an appointment and tell them exactly what the problem is without being hassled into anything I don’t need. While I wouldn’t mind my neighbor fixing it and giving him the money, my car is still under warranty and there’s a good chance that this will be covered.

And if it’s not, he can get the part for me. Mechanics have connections to everybody it seems, and he already “knows a guy” who can get the part for him in no time flat.

So tomorrow I get to call my local dealer and tell them exactly what needs fixing. No matter what they tell me, I am sure to get this taken care of. The only question is whether it is covered under my warranty.

Speaking of the CEL, read this fantastic article which explains in great detail why it should be eliminated from today’s vehicles. Oh, our mechanic friend also showed Ann how to turn the Maintenance Required light off on her car which was triggered because she needs an oil change. She’s definitely behind.

And all I can say is that everyone should have a neighbor who is an honest mechanic. It would save them so much time and potential headaches. I know it has me already.

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