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Check Engine Light

My car’s Check Engine Light came on a couple of days ago. It has oil and water, and is running just fine. Any ideas?

Not a clue. Get the code read, and post it here. It will be in a format like P0130. Most auto parts stores do it for free.

The computers in today’s cars monitor the car for emissions. There are hundreds of standard codes and more manufacturer specific codes that could turn this light on. Without the code, we also have no idea.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

Today after being on for 3 days, the light went off. Should I be happy? or concerned?

Be concerned if the light comes on and starts flashing at you. If this happens it would be best to pull off the road safely but immediately and call a tow truck.

If it just comes back on solid again, drive into an auto parts store (corporate chain-type such as Autozone) and ask them to read your computer’s codes. Write down the actual code (such as P0123), ignoring what anyone tells you about it, and post whatever codes come out.

In the mean time, the next time you get gas, take a rag and clean off the gas cap - especially the rubber gasket ring, and make sure to secure it fully each time you get gas.

Out of curiosity, did you happen to look at what the owner’s manual has to say about the light?

Yes you should be happy. Be very happy. Then plan on being sad, very sad when it comes back on. It could be something as simple as bad gas, that caused your engine to miss for a short while, and it got throught that, so now it’s all better, or it could be a sensor going out, or any of a number of things. If it has oil and water, great. That’s all a motor needs. Right? Well almost. It needs to have some spark, and the proper amount of fuel getting to the combustion chamber, and oh yeah, some air would be nice too. Otherwise, you’re on the right track.

If it were my car, I would be happy and get the code(s) if any were stored. You might be able to avoid an unpleasant surprise at a very inopportune time. What year is your Camry? It makes a difference if it is older than early 90s as with those you can probably retrieve the codes yourself with a bent paper clip.