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OBD Light

This light comes on occasionally on my 04 Dodge Minivan. It has 60,000 miles on it. Why is this and what should be done?

You should find out what error is being detected by having it scanned for diagnostic trouble codes. Many large chain auto parts stores will do this for free.

Aha! You also posted about an overheating problem with this van. You should have included this in this post. You may find there is a code for a failure in the fan relay circuit or a coolant temperaure sensor out of range.

I am actually finding that some auto parts chains don’t do this nearly as readily as they used to. According to the Manager at my local Advance Auto Parts, Advance has stopped doing this completely by company policy, and at Autozone it depends on the store. Many Autozone stores no longer pull codes, but sometimes you can pursuade the manager to do it. Other than Advance or Autozone, I am not aware of any other auto parts stores that would pull your codes for free. There may be some in other states, I don’t know.

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.

There sre several hundred trouble codes which can turn on the check engine light/symbol (or, as you call it, the OBD Light). It can not be guessed which one has set the light. You, or your mechanic have to use a scan tool to get that information; then, bring it here for advice.