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Q: Driver thought gear was in 3rd when it was neutral

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My car only has the basics, not even a tachometer. This is my first manual transmission and I am currently doing well on back roads. However, in my learning I have made some mistakes. For example, one time I thought that I was shifted into 3rd gear, but instead it was either neutral or 1st. When this happened, the engine briefly revved. Not having a tachometer, I do not have any idea whether or not the RPMs went into the red, but I let my car rest for 15 minutes and cool down. It had stalled out a couple of times and had a chirping sound because the engine had evidently revved too much going from 3rd to 4th gear. This probably burned out the clutch and the check engine light was on. When I had purchased the car, the previous owner had explained that the car had a misfire in cylinder 3, which might be sparking the check engine light, but it had never come on before this time. After allowing the car to rest 15 minutes and after the check engine light had come on, I drove for a few minutes and then went back home. I turned it off for a couple of minutes and then started it. The check engine light was still on, so I decided the warning light was legitimate. I am planning on replacing the spark plugs and the wires. What kind of damage do you think that I did to my car and what is your advice?

A: In the worst case, you may have over-revved...

In the worst case, you may have over-revved the engine floating the valves which may contact the pistons. But a Check Engine Light only means there is a fault that is detected, and if the engine seems to run okay then it is possible that no damage may have occurred. The fault needs to be read out of the engine computer and corrected. If there is a misfire in cylinder 3 it needs to be corrected. You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will the tools and expertise to read out the faults and correct issues in the engine management system.

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