Check Engine lights after filling up with Gas

It’s getting cold. There is one chore every driver ends up putting up with that they tend to hate in the winter, especially if you are not in New Jersey. That is pumping gas.

    My Golden Girls Sophia is coming out- Picture this “Winter 2022 it’s 10 degrees, it’s so cold I saw chickens lining up at KFC for their turn at the deep fryer.” When it’s that cold, everyone hates pumping gas, there’s not one good way to do it that doesn’t involve you freezing your tuckus off. Here's where the problem comes in- you can do it fast, or you can do it right. If you do it right, your fingers fall off while pumping gas, and if you do it fast, your check engine light comes on. Some vehicles will even tell you to check gas cap. 

I will tell you a little secret about check engine lights. Like a vague-poster on Facebook, they tend not to give the everyday Joe a whole lot of information to go on. The check engine light is a misnomer, it should be check car light.  The check engine light covers almost every system in the car. It’s not like you could open the hood when the Check Engine light is on and ask your car, “hey bud just checkin in, how ya doin?” and have your car tell you “Joe I am sad today and need a lift me up, can we get the high test today and go vroom, vroom!”

But there are things you can do, to save time and money when that Check Engine Light comes on.

First, is check your gas cap, take it off and put it back on. Now the light might not go out right away. That is because on most vehicles, there are drive cycles and parameters for the check engine light for each system. I once drove a C​hevy for 600 miles to satisfy the parameters for the check engine light. So, if your light comes on solid not blinking, right after the fill up, and it drives ok, make sure you drive it until it is a ¼ tank full as that is when the Evap system will check itself again. If it goes out, you’re gold, if not give us a call and ask what to do.

Second take note, some other lights like the traction control, cruise control and abs lights may come on. Do not get excited. If it drives okay, know that when the check engine light comes on for certain systems, it may disable other systems what the car deems as non-essential, so that power can go to those systems that need it, and it has an added bonus of lighting up the dash more  than the Griswold’s tree, which in turn makes you excited and worried your car is going to blow up when it’s can’t be further from the truth. So, one problem might be three lights worth.  Make sure that all your gauges are acting accordingly, most cars have alternator, coolant, speedometer and odometer and fuel. If they are acting weird or out of character, make sure to mention it when you bring it in.

Third, don’t leave it go for eternity, it’s different from leaving it go for a gas tank to 6 months down the lane. You could potentially save yourself $100s of dollars. If Check engine light is on for more than 2 tanks of gas, make an appointment.

We love to help our customers, so by helping you understand the tech in your car a bit better, we save you time and money, which makes you happier to see us sometimes.  We are here when you need us or to stop by and say hi. Click link for more money savings