Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Always SUMTHIN', Part Ten

When it rains, it pours.  We're just in from runnin' the day's errands and I was shocked to find my kind and gentle wash 'n' fold folks are foldin' up their tent and movin' on.  After commiserating with the Sweet Young Thang who minds the counter (it's worse for HER... I'm out of a service; she's out of a JOB) I duly trucked on down the street to the sole remaining dry cleaners in P-Ville and was chagrined to find that, no, they don't do wash 'n' fold.  I have one other option to follow up, as I'm told one of the local laundromats used to do this sorta thang.  So, we're not defeated yet, but neither are we hopeful.  I HATE the thought and/or prospect of wasting three hours in our laundromat... watching the washers and dryers go round and round while hobnobbing with some of P-Ville's finest citizens.

As if that wasn't enough,,, the "check engine" light came on in The Green Hornet this afternoon.  Well, it actually came on last evening as I was making my way home from dinner, and we duly checked all that could be checked before we set out on the day's errands.  Everything seems good... fluid levels, which is to say coolant, oil, brake fluid, etc., are all good; she starts right up with no complaint; oil pressure is normal; she's not overheating; power is good; and there are no unusual noises emanating from under the hood.  Yet that obnoxious little light remains on and the nearest Mazda store is way the hell over in Lubbock (a two-plus hour drive), to complicate matters.

It's always frickin' SUMTHIN'.


  1. Most modern cars have a timing belt instead of a chain and the light will come on more-or-less as just a reminder to have the belt checked for too much stretch. My check engine light has been on for about 2 years and nothing bad has happened (knock on wood).

    In fact, it's kinda cool when I'm really low on gas and I have the high beams on - the dashboard is lit up like a slot machine. :)

  2. I did the usual, customary, and reasonable google search on this, Inno, and potential (likely) reasons are the EGR valve or impending battery failure. I think the EGR valve is prolly the culprit. We'll see...

  3. Elder Daughter's check engine light has been on forever and has not been running well for quite some time, even though she's had 2 different folks look at it. When Pepper borrowed her car during our last trip north, he was afraid to turn it off once he finally got it started, so he took it to his old mechanic buddy, who immediately diagnosed and fixed the problem (a cracked something or other) after they had lunch. Now the car starts and runs great, but the check engine remains lit. Mechanic buddy says she just needs a new gas tank cap. Try that.

  4. Thanks, Moogie. The gas cap thing was listed as a "possible" in my google search, as well.

  5. Check engine lights come on from a variety of reasons. Newer cars usually have them come on due to emission control reasons.

    There are a number of things that could cause the engine light to come on, these are found out by reading the code from the computer. There are a lot of codes, and to make things even more interesting, many faults will require a number of starts to clear once its fixed unless you have that nice little code reader with a reset capability. These code readers also tend to be matched to various versions.

    It could be spark plugs, timing, emission sensors, bad wires, and so on. The gas cap thing is part of emission control, the cap being bad causes a change in back pressure in the gas system.

    The timing can go off if a pulley is getting a bad bearing and causing the belt to slip some.

    A local garage can pull the codes, and except for some unusual codes that are brand specific, they will know the cause of the light being on. The codes get pretty specific, down to which valve is misfiring for instance, or which O2 sensor is bad. Some O2 sensors have a heater in them for when the car is just started, if that heater goes bad it can throw on the light even though it doesn't affect the running of the car once it warms up.

  6. Moogie, the check engine light might go out eventually if the problem was fixed. The codes usually take multiple times for them to trip the light, (unless its a critical fault, then you usually can't drive it) it takes a variety of starts to clear the light, 50 or so is not uncommon.

    The timing belt isn't on all cars. High end engines still use the chain as it is more reliable and can put up with the higher revs and temps.

  7. Well, it looks like Anon, and Inno (and The Gooble) stole my thunder.

    It's probably nothing. Some cars flash that light at a designated odometer reading just to force you to the garage. Wouldn't worry too much about it.

    The clutch on my AC went out a while ago...rattling gave me the heads-up. Told Pam "Just don't run the AC until I save up a few more coins." Did she listen? Nope! Locked up, busted my serpentine belt, and almost left me stranded.

    I just picked it up yesterday morning from my trusted mechanic. $656, plus $60 for the tow. Thank God, State Farm reimburses.

    For the tow.

  8. I'm with Anon on this. Try a local garage - Clovis is a big city now. They should be able to do sumpin. If not, just think of all the fine restaurants and shopping you can do in Lubbock. And I have a single friend who lives there...

  9. Anon: You're nearly as good as Google! I went and checked on the timing belt thing, as I thought TGH might have a chain. But...noooo. Guess what the Mazda recommended replacement interval is? 60K miles! TGH has 55K on the clock, so I'm thinkin' I'll have that done just to be on the safe side, as is my habit. She needs new shocks anyway...

    Andy: Sorry to hear about your AC troubles. No offense to Pam, but women generally just don't listen when it comes to cars.

    Lou: I'm thinkin' seriously about a trip to The Hub City next week.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.