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Q: New car that is always lighting up ‘check engine’

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I have replaced the engine one time already in my 2011 Kia Sorento even though I only have 20,500 miles on the thing. Now the Check Engine Light always seems to be on. I have taken it in, had it inspected (only to find no issues), and then paid the bill and left only to have the light back within a month about 4 times. I am so sick of this problem. Is my car a lemon? Or is this common for cars that have replaced engines?

A: Hello, thanks for writing in about this iss...

Hello, thanks for writing in about this issue.

No, your car is not a lemon!

The Check Engine Light (CEL) is trigged by the engine control unit when it detects a fault with any engine sensor or a calculated engine performance concern. When the Check Engine Light is on it sets a code that is present for about 40 key cycles, even if the fault is intermittent and goes away.

Codes are necessary in order to provide any diagnosis or repair and there is a diagnostic process for each code that should be followed. Diagnosing is a hands-on job that requires a scanner and a few tools to fix.

A certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, can perform an independent assessment to find a definitive cause for your illuminated Check Engine Light.

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