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Q: Check engine light on

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I usually drive without much fuss, but the last two times I have stepped on the gas fully to quickly go by a slower car the check engine light has turned on. The first time it blinked and then turned off. The second time it stayed there. I understand I shouldn't leave this problem be for too long but my budget is tight and I won't be able to have it checked for at least another month. What could it be? Thanks.

My car has 79000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Any one, or more, out of a list of thousands of Diagnostic Trouble Codes could have caused your vehicle’s Check Engine Light to illuminate. Even given your very well stated description of what occurred, no "one" of these many codes is any more likely than the others. Consequently, your best option is to request a check engine light diagnostic. During such a diagnostic, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic would use a code scanner to retrieve the specific diagnostic trouble code(s) from your car’s PCM that have caused the check engine light to illuminate. Using those codes, the appropriate individual vehicle components or sub-systems (often a sensor, circuit, and the like) are tested to pinpoint the cause of the fault or the reason why the check engine light has illuminated. Once the faulty part or component is identified, it is explained to your satisfaction and the mechanic will let you know of the cost to repair.

As you know, when a vehicle’s check engine light illuminates, there is a malfunction that should be diagnosed and repaired. If the check engine light is flashing, that means there is a serious fault, such as cylinder misfiring, that requires immediate repair. Misfiring, in particular, has the potential to damage the catalytic converter which can result in additional costly repairs. If the check engine light is "steadily" illuminated though (not flashing) the seriousness of the malfunction is hard to judge unless and until a Code Scanner is used by the Mechanic to download the specific trouble codes from your car’s computer (PCM or ECU) that have caused the light to illuminate. In your circumstance, even though the flashing ceasing and the light is now solid, often all the past troubles codes, too, will still be downloadable. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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