One of the key advantages of riding a bike is that there are no idiot lights to deal with. The most idiotic of all idiot lights is something called the check engine light. When this light is illuminated something is wrong with your car’s engine. It could be a big thing. It could be a trivial matter.
I suspect that this is all a ruse to get you to spend money on your car. It works.
I was planning on driving Mrs. Rootchoppers 2004 Accord to the dealer for an oil change and an overdue state safety inspection. Total cost of these two items is $50.
I went to start the car. It sounded like I was going to have to get out and turn the crank. The engine did turn over but I made a mental note to add a new battery to the list. The bill was now closer to $200.
Then I realized that the check engine light was on. Danger Will Robinson. I was soon to learn that this particular dealer charges $139 to ascertain the cause. This involved plugging a thingie into the gizmo and writing down the code on the display. Good work if you can get it.
Of course, the car ran fine all the way to the dealer, but I needed to pass inspection and the check engine light was between me and PASS. Arg.
I dropped my car off and pulled Little Nellie out of the trunk for the frigid ride to the office.
The mechanic called and said the reason for the check engine light was a bad solenoid (in plain English, this is an electronic doodad) in the fuel system. He also said the engine was leaking oil.
Long story short, $1,000 later I got the car back. Smoke was coming out of my credit card.
At least the three mile ride to and from the dealer confirmed that the new shifters on Little Nellie cured it’s shifting woes.
The check engine light stayed off all the way home. The low-on-gas light came on instead.