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Engine light

I own a 2003 chevy impala I suddenly got the dreaded check-engine light , is there anything I can do, everything seems ok


Something has turned that light on.

You can have your car’s codes scanned at Autozone or Advance auto parts for free and post the code(s) back here in number form like: PO123, etc.

Maybe somebody can give you a heads-up.

How about engine size, 3.4 or 3.8? Also, tell us how many miles are on it. Post that, too.

If the light is steadily illuminated, then it indicates that something is amiss with the electronics or the fuel system on the car–but that the fault is probably not crucial to anything other than emissions and possibly gas mileage. This can be explored at your convenience, but a.s.a.p., by having the car’s OBD II system scanned (free-of-charge at places like Auto Zone and Advance Auto) for stored trouble codes. These codes will lead a mechanic to the source of the problem.

If the light is blinking/flashing, that indicates a much more serious issue that needs to be attended to immediately! In this case, drive to a competent mechanic right away, before the car becomes undriveable.

Assuming that you have a steadily illuminated CEL, try to take care of it soon, unlike someone who recently posted on this board with the question:
“My CEL has been lit up for the past 16 years. What is wrong with my Chevy Blazer?”

Almost everyone on this board told her that it was a bit late to begin exploring this issue after 16 years. Hopefully you will not wait as long to find out what the problem is with your Impala!

On the other hand, if the car runs for 16 years, who cares? A piece of black tape over the dash indicator will take care of that annoying light.

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. 

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.

Before getting the codes checked, make sure your gas cap is on tight. A loose gas cap set the CEL on my 2000 Blazer once.

Ed B.

Hello ebd1961:

I saw your post re: a loose gas cap setting of your CEL on your 2000 Blazer. I have a 2005 Avalanche where the same thing happened. How did you get the light to go off? Some replies here have said that a few starting and stoppings of the engine with mileage between each cycle will get it to go off. I have also heard that there’s a procedure involving the key switch and pumping one of the pedals. Do you know?

Turning the ignition switch to the on position and rapidly pressing the gas pedal to the floor three times and then starting the engine will recycle the oil change light. Only.

if the car runs for 16 years, who cares? A piece of black tape over the dash indicator will take care of that annoying light.

And if a serious problem shows up that could cause serious engine damage or a serious safety issue, your car could be trying to tell you and you would not know. The black tape solution is a very very bad idea.

I’d recommend stopping by AutoZone and getting the codes downloaded as a first step rather than just resettingthe gas cap. If there’s something happening that could cause damage you want to know ASAP. If the codes come back as an EVAP system problem, then you can reset the gas cap.

I guess the countrydriver must have a much cheaper, endless source of gasoline than everyone else, and/or has a different source of air to breathe than everyone else. As most people on this forum are aware, a car that is running with the CEL illuminated is using more gas than it should and/or is emitting more pollutants than it should.

So, in answer to countrydriver’s question of who should care about this situation, I will respond that anyone with intelligence and/or morals should care. I will leave it to countrydriver to determine whether he/she fits into those categories.

Davefaewishaw, the OP, posted on September 7, 2008. He hasn’t posted the codes yet. Maybe, he is having difficulty finding an auto parts store? Anyway, Dave, whenever you’re ready.

what do you mean by reset the gas cap?

disconnecting the battery for a few minutes worked for me.