CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Check engine light

check engine light went on-took the car to a mechanic and he said the “code” indicated the gas cap…light went off for a few days-It came back on. When the mechanic tested the car again-the same result. Went to a Toyota mechanic and he said evac. canister…$300 later it was off-for a week. Went back and they replaced the gas cap-light off for a few days and back on…the “machine” they hook the car up to in order to read the “codes” keeps saying gas cap…should I worry? Car rides great with or without the check engine light on!!!

CEL is a minor issue until you need to pass an emissions test. Get it fixed before then. I do not know if you have a pump that pressurizes the system for a test, but we had one that failed and caused the same symptoms.

Let’s start by getting the actual code. It will be in the format [P1234] Many autopart stores will read the codes for you for free.

I suspect there is a problem with the vapor recovery “vent” system in your car. Are you in the habit of topping off the tank when you fill it up?

I do not agree with waterboy on this one. CELs are important. They can warn you of an impending problem while it is still cheap to repair, has not yet failed and left you in the middle of no where, starts sucking mileage down or causes a safety issue. Don’t ignore CELs.

Thanks Joe…the car has less than 20,000 miles on it and is used sparingly.( a car I have at a vacation home) First mechanic DID say watch the mileage and if it did go down that would “something” to worry about…it still gets the same mileage. I DO tend to fill it up/top it off. Since it IS used so little ( a week here and there- vacation/summer…I’m a teacher that uses it maybe 18 weeks a year!) might that be a problem?

Thanks waterboy-I’m hoping the fact that it is used so sparingly-it’s a “second car” I have at a vacation home- might not help the situation…