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Question for car mechanics re: Check Engine Light coming on. Login/Join 
Oriental Redneck
Picture of 12131
posted
I know the standard answer is, it could be a million things, but is it possible for it to come on due an empty coolant reservoir?


Q






 
Posts: 26604 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alienator
Picture of SIG4EVA
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Doubtful, but there would be an indicator light depending on the vehicle. The easiest way to check is to run to your local auto parts store and they'll do it for free. One easy and free thing to do is make sure your gas cap is tight.


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Posts: 7090 | Location: NC | Registered: March 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
quarter MOA visionary
Picture of smschulz
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CEL is doubtful on a coolant reservoir but yes as mentioned is to scan it to know.
Generally a CEL is for more serious issues.
 
Posts: 22977 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: June 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
H.O.F.I.S
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Possible. But that opens the next question.... where did the coolant go?



"I'm sorry, did I break your concentration"?
 
Posts: 1513 | Location: Above water | Registered: September 16, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Thank you
Very little
Picture of HRK
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quote:
Originally posted by SIG4EVA:
The easiest way to check is to run to your local auto parts store and they'll do it for free.


This is the tip of the day, any parts store should have a reader that plugs right into the vehicle, scans the codes and a simple google of the code will give you plenty of intel on what it is and why.
 
Posts: 23645 | Location: Florida | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Technically Adaptive
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Don't have them clear the code if it's a serious issue, the freeze frame information will help repair it.
 
Posts: 1314 | Location: Willcox, AZ | Registered: September 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by 12131:
I know the standard answer is, it could be a million things, but is it possible for it to come on due an empty coolant reservoir?
Maybe?

Check your owner's manual and see if your dash indicators or whatever include a coolant level warning. If so, and it's not lit, then the CEL is probably for something else. If there's no discreet coolant level warning indicator: Maybe the CEL is for that.

quote:
Originally posted by 21bubba:
Possible. But that opens the next question.... where did the coolant go?
This ^^^^^, too.



"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
 
Posts: 26009 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Perception
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by 12131:
I know the standard answer is, it could be a million things, but is it possible for it to come on due an empty coolant reservoir?


Empty coolant reservoir potentially means coolant leak and low coolant level, so I can see where it could be related to an issue that would trigger a CEL. I would get it scanned and find out what's going on with your coolant asap.




"The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford, "it is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them. They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards."
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, then the wrong lizard might get in."
 
Posts: 3524 | Location: Two blocks from the Center of the Universe | Registered: December 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ignored facts
still exist
posted Hide Post
These readers are on sale for $20. might be useful unless the car doesn't have an OBD II plug. What do you drive and what year?

https://www.amazon.com/MOTOPOW...pid=81184753329&th=1



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Posts: 10963 | Location: 45 miles from the Pacific Ocean | Registered: February 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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Normally a dedicated light will illuminate if the coolant reservoir has a low level sensor.

$20 scanner at Wal-Mart or a scan by a local auto parts place would be in order.




 
Posts: 10057 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Optimistic Cynic
Picture of architect
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Am I the only one who suspects that those "free scans" at an auto parts dealer are nothing more than a sales tool. "We're seeing a 'code 390' that means you need to buy this $400 frammistat, don't worry, we'll install it "for free," oh, and you probably need a new battery too."
 
Posts: 6539 | Location: NoVA | Registered: July 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of P250UA5
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I wouldn't be able to until probably Friday, but I could pull the codes for you at/near my office.
I have a scanner, but don't have it on me today, and am away from the office T-Th this week.

Text/Email if that works for you.




The Enemy's gate is down.
 
Posts: 15449 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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Year & model? Miles?

Most of the time, a CEL can be ignored, though it can bug the owner.

Yeah, I was never big on the ‘free’ code reading at Auto Zone & others.
 
Posts: 6207 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Krazeehorse
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quote:
Originally posted by architect:
Am I the only one who suspects that those "free scans" at an auto parts dealer are nothing more than a sales tool. "We're seeing a 'code 390' that means you need to buy this $400 frammistat, don't worry, we'll install it "for free," oh, and you probably need a new battery too."

That hasn't been my experience.


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Posts: 5693 | Location: Ohio | Registered: December 27, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Savor the limelight
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My experience with CELs is that they have always been emissions controls related. The gas cap gasket on my dad’s Corvette was old and cracked, the DPF filter on my truck needs replacing, etc. Anything serious seems to get a dedicated light, gauge, warning message in the info screen, or the vehicle goes into limp mode.

I’d have no trouble having an auto parts retailer check it for me. The last time they did, they gave me a print out of the codes and I was on my merry way. It was the DEF system and I had to take it to a dealer to fix. We were on vacation and I didn’t pack my code reader and didn’t have the tools I needed to make the repairs.
 
Posts: 11082 | Location: SWFL | Registered: October 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
His diet consists of black
coffee, and sarcasm.
Picture of egregore
posted Hide Post
quote:
I know the standard answer is, it could be a million things, but is it possible for it to come on due an empty coolant reservoir?

If the coolant in the engine is also very low, it can trigger an over-temperature or a low coolant temperature code. You've got to scan it.
 
Posts: 28059 | Location: Johnson City, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
Picture of 12131
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2012 Camry SE, 115k miles. Had it serviced 4 days ago on Thursday at Joe Myers (Oil change, new spark plugs, new drive belt, new front brake pads, 4-wheel alignments, tire rotation). Drove to Dallas on Saturday for my niece's wedding. On the drive home yesterday afternoon, the CEL came on soon after we stopped to refuel midway through. Everything was running smoothly, and we made it home. Checked under the hood early this AM and noticed the coolant reservoir was below the min level (i.e., near empty). Drove back to Joe Myers this AM. They checked things out, but the CEL no longer illuminated while there. There was no leak. Apparently they didn't check the coolant reservoir the first time. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been near empty. But, they said I will need to replace the "transmission range sensor PRNDL SWITCH". The cost is $623, but I did not have this done, since the CEL is no longer on. What say y'all?


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Posts: 26604 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by sourdough44:
Most of the time, a CEL can be ignored, though it can bug the owner.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
 
Posts: 26009 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Firearms Enthusiast
Picture of Mustang-PaPa
posted Hide Post
Since it did it after you filled up is/was your gas cap on tight? You aren’t by chance using a aftermarket locking or reg gas cap are you?
 
Posts: 18058 | Location: South West of Fort Worth, Tx. | Registered: December 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
Picture of 12131
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I'm pretty anal about the gas cap and always made sure it's tight. But, you never know. The cap is original manufacturer.


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Posts: 26604 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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