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  #1  
Old 19 December 2016, 05:49 AM
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Default Car troubles

As I was driving home from work today, the service engine light suddenly came on in my car and I lost a significant amount of engine power: acceleration was extremely sluggish and I could only get up to about 30 in a 55 zone. Fortunately, 9 at night on a Sunday is a low traffic time so there wasn't any issues there but it still took a long time to get home.

Don't know what's happening but now I've got to make an appointment with the service center at the local dealership tomorrow and that's going to be some extra hassle and expense that I could do without. Blah.
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  #2  
Old 19 December 2016, 04:58 PM
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I recommend that everyone in the US with a 1996 or later car get a cheapie OBDII code reader so they can pull the codes and see what the computer thinks the problem is. The computer isn't always right, but it is usually right and pretty much always knows where to start troubleshooting.

Kragen and O'Reilley (and probably AutoZone) have usable code readers for like $70; there's also a Harbor Freight equivalent for around $50. They generally come with a booklet that lists and describes all of the non-proprietary codes; that and some Google-fu will generally get you in striking range of a repair strategy.

Good luck with the fix, my condolences for having to deal with this in the middle of winter.
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Old 19 December 2016, 05:12 PM
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AutoZone and similar stores will also plug theirs in and read your codes for you (or at least they've done it for me). Sometimes it's a reason that can be safely ignored, although that's not the case in the OP (or if you need to pass Echeck -- in Ohio, at least, you can't pass if the check engine light is on).
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Old 19 December 2016, 06:14 PM
Alchemy Alchemy is offline
 
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Knowing nothing else, odds are good it's just an ECU response to sustained misfire. Not too expensive if it's an ignition system malfunction. An overheat condition usually has its own warning.

The engine is deliberately limiting your engine so you you don't blow a hole through a piston or torch your catalytic converter into slag, but still allowing the engine to run at low power so you can safely hobble to a mechanic.

So, on the bright side, your ECU may have saved you from the sort of engine damage that would've made your car a total loss.

OBDII code readers are super helpful in troubleshooting, but I'm not sure how useful they are if you don't understand the engine and emissions and how dozens of sensors interact with them.
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  #5  
Old 19 December 2016, 06:21 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoKu View Post
I recommend that everyone in the US with a 1996 or later car get a cheapie OBDII code reader so they can pull the codes and see what the computer thinks the problem is. The computer isn't always right, but it is usually right and pretty much always knows where to start troubleshooting.
It's not really necessary to buy one. Autozone + other places will read the code for you for free - in the hopes that you will buy the part from them.

OY
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  #6  
Old 19 December 2016, 07:18 PM
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Thirding what others have said about auto part stores giving you a free read. They will also reset the light, though that is often very short lived.

It sounds like your car was in what mine calls 'limp home mode' which means its probably not as bad as it might appear.

Good luck!
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  #7  
Old 19 December 2016, 08:07 PM
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So I called the service center and got an appointment. Unfortunately, it's for tomorrow which means that I have to scuttle my plans to go see Rogue One today. Also to go to the grocery store.
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  #8  
Old 20 December 2016, 04:54 PM
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Welcome to my 2016. I spent a lot of money on the ol' flivver, but she runs great now. I'm just glad I had the funds to do it.

Dawn--if it has a roof or a rear view it's gonna cost you money!--Storm
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  #9  
Old 20 December 2016, 05:16 PM
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Heard back from the service department prior to my appointment (which is still two hours from now).

My car has a recall on it for the fuel pump. I'd actually known this but they're still waiting to get the correct part in and it's been so long that I'd forgotten. The guy I talked to said he's seen this issue before and it's probably because of the recalled part.

Well, that's great, now what can you do about getting my car in working order? I'm waiting to hear back from him regarding how much longer they're expecting it to be before my part arrives.
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  #10  
Old 20 December 2016, 05:18 PM
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On the bright side, you won't have to pay for the part. If it's any consolation, I only just had the airbag replaced in my Subaru in October, and I got the letter back in March.
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  #11  
Old 20 December 2016, 07:17 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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See if they will give you a free loaner while the part is on order, now that the car is not safe to drive.
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  #12  
Old 20 December 2016, 11:04 PM
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Nope, they have rentals. That you can pay for.
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  #13  
Old 21 December 2016, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
It's not really necessary to buy one. Autozone + other places will read the code for you for free - in the hopes that you will buy the part from them...
I persist in my recommendation that everyone with an OBDII car should have a reader. Being able to do your own diagnostics on your own schedule can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

When it's late at night and you get a check engine light and engine roughness, it's nice to know whether you need new spark plugs when practical (P03xx) or if you should stop and have it towed to the shop before the engine starts coughing up expensive bits (P0016).
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  #14  
Old 22 December 2016, 02:47 AM
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Well, my cousin is going to let me borrow his truck until my car is fixed, so I'll have something to drive.

But when I tried asking my dad, he suggested that I could either walk to work (it's eight miles from my apartment, most of which is down an extremely busy rural road with no sidewalk, and I get off work well after dark) or get a ride from my mom, who's in Arizona for the winter.
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Old 22 December 2016, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Well, my cousin is going to let me borrow his truck until my car is fixed, so I'll have something to drive.

But when I tried asking my dad, he suggested that I could either walk to work (it's eight miles from my apartment, most of which is down an extremely busy rural road with no sidewalk, and I get off work well after dark) or get a ride from my mom, who's in Arizona for the winter.
Was your father one of those people who walked to school in one of those June snowstorms? Uphill both ways?
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Old 22 December 2016, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Was your father one of those people who walked to school in one of those June snowstorms? Uphill both ways?
Don't forget barefoot!
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  #17  
Old 30 December 2016, 01:06 AM
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Well, the part still isn't in this week. Mom is (again) saying that I should call the shop every day until the part comes in, because somehow that's going to make them get it in faster or something.
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  #18  
Old 30 December 2016, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Well, the part still isn't in this week. Mom is (again) saying that I should call the shop every day until the part comes in, because somehow that's going to make them get it in faster or something.
You certainly should call in periodically; it does happen that customers "fall through the cracks" and get forgotten about. And it also happens that some repair shops might use parts to fix, ah, "more important customer's" vehicles, sidelining one's own repair (this happened to me at a major dealership's repair center - a one-day fix ended up being a week because the part ordered was used for someone else - twice, in fact. I put up a little bit of a stink about it and had the job done for free).

But yeah, every day? That's how you make yourself unwelcome at the shop.
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Old 30 December 2016, 02:50 PM
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Find out the info to contact a regional manager or other representative of the car maker, and complain. If there is a shortage of parts to fix a problem on which there is a recall, they should be making sure any available parts go to cars that have actually developed the problem and become unusable, (which may be happening, but I would go above the dealer to make sure) and I would strongly complain about not getting a free loaner.

A recall means they are admitting there is a problem with the part. Your car is disabled and unusable, and they can't repair it within a reasonable time. I would tell the car maker that it affects your perception of the brand and will make you hesitant to buy another ______, or recommend it to others. The car maker is concerned about those things. The dealer is more focused on making a profit in the individual transaction.

Last edited by erwins; 30 December 2016 at 02:55 PM.
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  #20  
Old 30 December 2016, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crius of CoH View Post

But yeah, every day? That's how you make yourself unwelcome at the shop.

That's a way to get a restraining order as well.
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