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Check Engine Light on a 1987 Chevy Spectrum

I’m driving my mom’s 1987 Chevy Spectrum, which has about 190,000 miles on it. The Check Engine light comes on daily, but only when I’m driving uphill. The Chevy dealer says because the car is so old, it will take several hundred MORE bucks to find out what the codes mean. (It cost me $200 to find out that much!) Doesn’t seem to matter how full the gas tank is, or how steep the hill is. Other than this light, she just keeps going and going. Do I need to track down the cause? Might there be other symptoms that would help diagnose it that I’m unaware of?

Oh, and I forgot to say this haas been happening for the last 6-8 months or so.

it all depends on what your plans are with this car. it’s 26 years old. are you planning on keeping it for a while? Then spend the money and see what it is.

The OBD1 system is an emissions testing system, and with a car that old, your emissions station isn’t gonna hook it up to their computer (or at least they won’t where I live.) They will do the exhaust gas test on it, and it could feasibly pass with the check engine light on- depending on what is causing that light.

My first guess would be something over/underfueling causing a rich/lean condition when you are asking for more power (going up hills.)

The 87 Spectrum is just a rebadged Isuzu, and you can find out why the Check Engine light is on by pulling the codes yourself. Just like other GM vehicles, you insert a jumper wire between the A & B terminals on the ALDL connector under the dash. Then turn the ignition switch to the on position and the Check Engine light will flash out the codes.

Here’s where you insert the jumper wire and the code definitions.