Saturday, June 13, 2009

Check Engine

The actual picture of the message on my dashboard

Right after I gassed up at the Wawa in Milford, I turned the ignition to my 98 Subaru Forester on and I immediately noticed something new on my car’s display behind the steering wheel. Two letter in orange glow that said “Check Engine.” Gee, I wonder what that means. Actually, I know what that means. That means I’ll probably have to put out some more bucks on my faithful Subaru. I guess I should count by blessings because I have over 113,000 miles on my car. This is the absolute first time I’ve seen that message. To be honest, it’s a message that I didn’t want to see.

Reading my Subaru handbook, it tells me there are two possible reasons for the “Check Engine” message. One is the emission controller is shot (catalytic converter.) The other is that I didn’t put my gas cap on correctly and that the “Check Engine” message will go away all by itself after a few more drives. I’m hoping for the second reason. I don’t need any more problems right now and I definitely don’t need to put out more bucks for car repairs. A few months ago I spent over $1,700 to a new air pump, rear window shield motor and some other motor parts that were starting to wear out. My old buggy has been riding smooth since then. I was sort of hoping to get at least 250,000 miles out of this car.

So, I will take my friend out for a couple of rides tomorrow and hope the “Check Engine” light goes out by its self. One thing in my favor, the light came on immediately after I put the gas cap on it. I remember that I didn’t tighten it up all the way. That was before I saw the “Check Engine” light. But then, about a month ago I lost my gas cap and the “Check Engine” light didn’t come on. Maybe it has something to do with the way I tightened it. I hope so. I was planning on going to Pennsylvania on Monday (or Tuesday) to visit my Mother and to attend two graduation ceremonies of the Downingtown High School Class of 2009 as a class 50th anniversary guest. But I can’t see myself driving the 125 miles to PA with my “Check Engine” light on. I’ll be looking at it all the way up to PA.


G said...

Do you have a separate oil light? Maybe you just need to check the oil. Just a hunch. Mike

nitewrit said...


I've had this happen and it was just the gas cap. I suggest you take off the gas cap and then put it back on and tighten about four twists.

I've had the check engine light come on in the past and it turned out to be dust on the computer.

You can probably drive a good bit with the light on and not have a problem, but I've had that situation too and you are right, you can't help but keep glancing at the darn thing.

I'm betting it is just your cas cap, though.


Ron said...

think you're right Larry. The check engine light came on immediately after I filled the gas tank. Even before I turned the ignition on I thought that I had not turned the gas cap enough. My friend Ed said he was told the same thing but his did turn out that he needed a new cataylitic converter that cost him $1,200. Of course he took his car to a dealer in Pennsylvania and you know how dealers operate especially in PA. They'll rip you off every chance they get. It's in their blood.

I'll take your suggestion and take the gas cap off and tighten it up four screws then take the car out for a ride. My manual said if this is the reason, the check engine light may not go off immediately but will eventually. I'm hoping that's the case because I don't need any more expenses at this time.

Ron said...


I have a separate oil light. I'm good about changing my oil every 3,000 miles. In fact I have another 1,000 to go from the last oil change. I'm pretty sure the check engine light was activated by me not screwing the gas cap on tight enough. I'll take the gas cap off and screw it back on today and take my car out for spin.