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Check engine light reasona

99 Accord, 135K miles.

My check engine light went on, along with the ?maintenance? light over the weekend. So I checked the engine, puzzled because had and inspection/oil change/ alignment in August. However I found that there was NO OIL? yikes.

I put in 4 quarts in on Monday. The wife only put 20miles on since then, but now I am going to bring it to an auto parts store for them to plug in to the computer to tell me what the errors are.

What should I be looking for and what is bogus?

How could all the oil leak out or burn off in 3 months, when this was not a problem before?

My initial thoughts is that the August service was not done correctly, though this is the mechanic we used for the last 18 months, I had to re-tighten the lug nuts after a week because the loosened up… perhaps they forgot the oil too??.. as mentioned I am going to an auto parts store to look into it, not this guy.

Any ideas?

(I did not go back to him about the lug nuts in August… yeah I should have)


It’s not unusual for lug nuts to loosen up, especially on alloy wheels, after a wheel is re-installed. You, or your mechanic, should recheck them after a few days-week to make sure this isn’t happening. Often, shops over compensate for this possibility by excessively cranking them down in the first place.

How could all the oil leak out or burn off in 3 months, when this was not a problem before?

Sounds a bit like the situation where someone dies and everybody stands around going “he looked fine yesterday”. Stuff happens. It’s been my experience that oil consumption problems tend to accelerate if left unchecked. You should be checking the level more often than every three months, especially now that you know there may be a problem.

There are several possibilities regarding the lack of oil:

  1. There is a leak, in which case you should see oil spots where you park the car.
  2. The oil is burning, in which case you should start checking the oil level a LOT more frequently.
  3. The engine was not filled properly at the last service. This happens occasionally, which is why it’s always a good idea to check the level after a service.

What did the dipstick show after adding four quarts?

Go have the computer scanned and see what the codes tell you. There’s no point in guessing about why the CEL came on.