Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Dreaded Check Engine Light

My car's check engine light came on last night.  I drive a (I think...) 1998 Kia Sephia.  It's a manual transmission that my wife's parents bought her, then sold to her, then she drove it all through college, then I drove it after we got married.  After fixing a few things I think the car only cost something like three thousand dollars (my wife is sure to read this and correct me, so expect this dollar amount to change).  Either way, it's been a great car.  It's arguable that I learned to drive stick on here (I'd learned in a few other cars, but the Kia is really where my knowledge was tested and then honed into ability).

To say the least, it's been a good car.  My wife drove it from Salt Lake to Richfield all while we weren't married.  I've driven it to and from school for about a year and a half now.  I learned how to change the oil and spark plugs on her.  She houses the four summer tires for my wife's car.  I've laughed, I've cried, and I've done a good deal of living in her.  She's never been much to look at, but she's been mine.  My little area that no one else touched.  I could say whatever I wanted in that car without her judging me.  I could tell her about my problems and my successes without shallow construction or reality bringing relativity.  She could be counted on to not be counted on.  To not start when I most needed to get to a class, causing me to sprint to the lot where my wife leaves her car for car pool.

She's been good to me, and that check engine light made me think about it.  My wife has tried to comfort me "That light comes on in a lot of old cars for no reason.  It might be nothing."  Yeah, it might be nothing, but what if it's something?  She's ran well for over 100,000 miles, I look all the time and smile at the accomplishment.  I don't want to have to go looking for another car and try to whisper, "How many miles until you give up?"  I know they won't give me a straight answer, not the way the Kia did anyway.  I hope that it's nothing, but don't be surprised if I do another ode, an ode to a Kia.


  1. One of the cars we've driven didn't like the Chevron gas we put in it. All we had to do to get the light to turn off was put cheaper gas in. I know it sounds crazy, but it's worth a try. I have to wonder if whatever it is that they add to their gas (I don't know if other places do) is something the car didn't like.

    Also, unhook the batter and rehook it. It resets it and if there's nothing wrong it will stay off. Otherwise it will probably turn back on after a few days.

    These are just a few things we've tried and had work. Hope it helps. I totally understand the attachment to cars.

  2. oh no... trav's car always has that light on haha hopefully it doesn't mean anything....

  3. @Hansens
    Yeah, that's what my wife said too. And I hope that is the case, you know, that it's just that old cars often have the light come on.

    Yeah, I dunno. I think every car is different. Remember when the Explorer's light never turned off?

  4. Thank you for the very kind comment on my blog Paul... I really appreciate it!


  5. I meant it, and your welcome. I like your new pic thing too, very artsy. :)

  6. I hate the check engine light. As soon as it goes on, so does the anxiety light in my brain. Worst. Invention. Ever.

  7. Im afraid that Kia are like Hyundai (I had a hyundai). They are made to be throw-away cars. Not built for longevity. Over in Japan and Korea they are only allowed to drive cars until they reach 62ooo kilometers. Then they are required by law to get rid of them. You COULD get a new(second hand) engine from there. People import the engines and recondition them. We got one for our Nissan that only had 52000 kms on it.

  8. @dbs
    I know. The whole way home I felt like I was driving some kind of explosive that could go off at any time.

    The odd thing is that it has run a long time. For the year it was built 100,000 miles is quite a long time and it's well exceeded that. Hopefully it's just something small, but it may be major... we'll see. :)

  9. Its an expensive engine to fix especially if you need to get the lifters done. I had mine for eight years, and we could have bought a new engine for it but decided to sell it. It was a great car. I was sad when I sold my Benny Boy.
    p.s It's usually never just something small with these We are going old school with our nest car. A 79' Ford Cortina. Easy to work on and Hubby and I do it all ourselves. We are very!

  10. The cool thing about the place I go is that they are super honest, and let you know when the work will be worth more than the car. I hope it's not, but it may very well be, and I know they'll be straight with me. I wish I was mechanical, I have a tough time changing the oil. :)

  11. LOL! Glad you have an honest mechanic. The last one we had was aweful. Had our car for three weeks for a two day job.

  12. Lame. Yeah, my guy is my old hockey coach.