*Check Engine Light - Now What?*
By: Landwire
18 July 2014

On my way to work, my check engine light came on. Just before it came on, I had a momentary loss of power. The car shuddered for a moment. The check engine light started to flash. The power then returned back to the car. The check engine light stayed on. I was able to drive 15+ miles to work with no further issues. Along the way, I had a few stops. Each time I started the car up, the check engine light stayed on.

When I had a free moment, I disconnected the car battery, waited 30 seconds and then connected everything back. By disconnecting the battery, I remove power to the computer and hence no memory of the last car diagnostic for the check engine light. The drive home will be long enough for the computer to perform another diagnostic and confirm if there really is an issue. If the check engine light stays off, then there was perhaps a fluke event. If the check engine light comes back on, then it is confirmed there is an issue.

On the way home, I elected to take the back roads. If I ran into issues, I don't want to be fighting the rush hour traffic on the freeway trying to safely pull over. The drive home was uneventful as the check engine light did not come on.

Once I got home, I pulled out my CarMD ODB reader. I wrote up an article awhile back about it. After plugging it in, it shows there are no active error codes. I can't speak for other odb readers, but one nice thing about CarMD is that it can tell me what systems might need further observations. With my issue, it says the evaporative system has something going on, but not enough to trip a code. I started checking for disconnected, broken or split hoses. Sure enough I found one that was completely disconnected. The hose in question did not have a clamp on it. From the even dust/dirt accumulation, I am surmising the clamp deteriorated and fell off some time ago. After a period of time, it finally worked itself off. After remedying that, I went for a test drive. No check engine light and the car has a perceived increase of how smooth it seems to be running. After plugging CarMD back in, it still says there is something to be mindful of. When the engine cools down later, I will go back out and check for more vacuum hoses.


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