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Home / Articles / Columnists / Happy Motoring /  How many times have you had your vehicle´s check engine light on?
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Tuesday, July 8,2014

How many times have you had your vehicle´s check engine light on?

By Teresa Aquila  

 

New technology has many drivers puzzled these days! How many times have you had your vehicles check engine light come on, only to take it to the dealer and find out you forgot to tighten your fuel cap after your last fill up? One of my customers was driving to the store one day and had their vehicle stall while turning, only to discover after a tow bill to the shop, that their bowling ball rolled around in the back of their Ford hitting the side rear panel that tripped their fuel safety switch that stops the fuel flow if ever in an accident. Well, all these and other features have a great purpose, but at the same time can be driving you crazy as well as being costly.

In today’s world, new cars are rapidly changing from year to year. Recently a customer was working on their own vehicle in order to save money, which I encourage. I would describe him to be a very knowled geable home mechanic .

Unfortunately he was not versed on his model year and did not know all of the features his vehicle had. Most of the vehicles today have some type of anti-theft device to prevent auto theft. In his case, he had disconnected his battery for a few days while trying to replace the upper intake gasket on his engine. After the job was completed, he reinstalled the battery cables and attempted to start the vehicle to test his repairs, only to find the vehicle starting for a few seconds and then shutting off. After a few tries, he was disappointed thinking he had done something wrong. Nothing more frustrating after making a repair only to find out that the vehicle refuses to start.

After contacting me, I questioned him on his process in order to determine what the problem might be. He explained each process of the repair and nothing sounded incorrect. After racking my brain for a few seconds, I asked him what key he was using to start the vehicle. On most new vehicles with the anti theft devices, there is the main ignition key that is programmed to the switch. Then there is the valet key that can only be used to unlock the doors, trunk or glove box, but should never be used to try and start the vehicle.

He had no idea that the key that he was using was not the original key, for whatever reason. I advised him to find the original key and try starting it again. When he did, it ran, but roughly. I informed him to let it run for approximately 20-30 minutes so that the computer can do a relearn. He did and the rest is a learning process. The moral to the story is know what you are dealing with before attempting a repair.

 

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