Engine light comes on when the road is uneven

I have a 92 Chevy Astro van with about 160’000 miles on it. Beleive it or not it keeps running… been told the motor is good. Well until now perhaps…the engine light has started coming on more frequently lately especially it seems when the road is bumpy and uneven. It started a about 6 mo ago but happens more frequent now. Living in NYC that means most of the roads.

Anyone had experience with this? Appreciate any advice. Yes, will be heading over to the not cheap garages around here but do I need to rush?


Are all the fluid levels up to the full marks? If not, it’s possible a sending unit is sending intermittent signals causing the cel. You may want to have someone read the codes.

I vote for low brake fluid.

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.

Likely it will have a stored code even after the light goes out.

Regarding warning lights:

  1. if the coolant temp light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  2. if the oil warning light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  3. if a FLASHING MIL/CEL comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

    ASAP means driving to the berm of the highway right now and not waiting for the next exit.

But if the MIL/CEL is not flashing, then it’s not an urgent indicator.

The Autozones & Advance stores around me won’t do anything but OBD II codes - which means 1996 and later. That may be different where you are, but I’m pretty sure that the 92 Astro codes can be read w/out a reader.

If you want to sort out the codes w/out paying the labor check out Autozone’s online repair guides. Here’s the section for code checking on your van:


Though if you’re not saavy about electronics and such it might be better to have someone w/ experience do it.

If you do find a chain AP store that will read these codes - just ask for the codes and don’t listen to a word they say !! I recently went to have codes read in a 97 Escort. The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was weird and said “Well, all it could be is an oxygen sensor” - I sh** you not. I looked at him like he had 3 heads and just asked him to read the dumb codes. So don’t get sold anything while getting the codes. Just get them.

Right, I missed that 1992 part.

I agree with the others but I have had a trouble code induced by a very rough road due to a poor connection at the engine computer. First thing would be finding out what trouble code is set and then you’ve got something to go on.

Thank you all… really helpful advice. Good to know it is probably not emergent since the engine light is not flashing although I will have it checked. Too bad about Autozone, I called a place Upstate, they told me they only read cars 96 or later…but maybe other stores will.
Thanks again for all the good leads.

For about $30 you can buy a code reader and use it any time you wish. You could get the trouble code and bring it here for advice.