Erica's Blog

The Try Something New Everyday experiment

Today I solved my check engine light

There I was…driving along this afternoon when I heard my vehicle *ding*.

Usually it dings if I need to feed it gas…no biggie.  I mentally started to rearrange my errand list to include a gas station.

I looked down though and saw a horrifying sight!!  The “Check Engine” light…aka the “OMG!  The truck is going to explode and I’m going to breakdown and be left on the side of the cold, dark road!!” light was lit.  See, that would be too long (though accurate) of a label for this light, so the auto industry just settled on the kind, gentle (yet deceptive) “Please check your engine at your earliest convenience” light.


I’ve had past interactions with this light.  A few years ago, while driving down the interstate, at oh about 65 mph, the steering decided to take a siesta…then the electrical system went out and then the truck decided I didn’t need brakes…and then my panic started…and as I struggle to get off at the nearest exit, THAT’s when the check engine light decided to appear.

How nice.

But I hadn’t heard anything from said light since that incident and I figured we were back to being friends.

The good news…nothing started breaking or smoking or sounding weird.  I still had full control over the vehicle, which I like and see as kind of an important thing.  Maybe it’s just a fluke.  But yeah…my trust is quite weak when it comes to this light so I’m not falling for any of it’s trickery.

I remembered hearing a commercial that one of the local auto stores will check the “OMG! TTIGTEAIGTBABLOTSOTCDR” light…(see, even an acronym wouldn’t work for the title of the light) if it comes on.  Well, you know, granted that the vehicle hasn’t exploded on you or anything.  An awesome peep of a coworker confirmed that I hadn’t dreamt that up and told me she had used them as well.

So after work I restarted the truck…holding my breath, wondering if cracks, hisses or kabooms would start emitting from the truck.  I drove to the Advanced Auto, which luckily is just down the road.

When I arrived, one of the guys behind the desk asked me how he could help me and I explained my “OMG!  The truck is going to explode and I’m going to breakdown and be left on the side of the cold, dark road!!” light was lit.

Yes, I said it just like that to him.

He nodded and grabbed a square unit with several wires.  He asked me several questions as we walked out to the truck.  “How long had the light been on?  Have I heard any strange noises?  Is the truck still driving ok?  How many times have I been stranded on the side of the road (I guess my experience showed)?  How long did it take me to come up with that name of the light?”…you know, the usual auto store questions.

And then here is where my mechanical ignorance shows.  I figured I would act like I knew something about vehicles…so I offered to pop the hood for him…because of course everything of importance is concealed nicely under the hood.  He laughed and said he actually needed access to the cab.  I hung my head in embarrassment, handed him the keys and stood in silence as he plugged in his magical device and waited for it to compute or something.

Unfortunately, today I didn’t dress in my 24 layers of clothes to keep myself warm and within seconds of being outside, I quickly became chilled to the bone.  So much so, my teeth actually chatter.  Believe me, I try to control it but I can only clinch my jaw muscles for so long.  I think he actually heard my chattering and offered that I could stand in the store while he finished up.  And I sure did take him up on his offer!

After a few moments he came in and rattled off some auto lingo that my ears are deaf to.  Something to do with some sensor near the gas tank.  I probably looked alarmed as my face always shows my thoughts…such betrayal!!  He assured me the truck would not explode and leave me broke down on the side of the cold, dark road and handed me the code written on a piece of receipt paper with the homework to google the code.


Yep, I was quite impressed he remembered the true name of the light. It further cements my theory that calling the light a “Check Engine” light is an industry cover up that Snowden is probably about to reveal {Hi CIA…thanks for stopping by my blog! :)}.

So I searched the code on Yahoo! and came across this explanation:  This indicates that a part of the EVAP control system is no longer functioning correctly. The EVAP system consists of many parts, including (but not limited to) the gas cap, fuel lines, carbon canister, purge valve, and other hoses.

Then I read over the possible solutions:

With a P0441 OBD-II trouble code, diagnosis can be tricky at times. Here are some things to try:

  • Common Chrysler fix – Replace Leak Detection Pump / LDP
  • Repair damaged EVAP lines or canister
  • Repair open or short in voltage feed circuit to Purge Solenoid
  • Repair open in PCM purge command circuit
  • Replace purge Solenoid
  • Replace vacuum switch
  • Repair restriction in Evap line or canister or solenoid
  • Repair resistance in purge connector
  • Replace PCM

Oh yeah…that totally made sense to me.  As much as reading War and Peace in Pali.  This junk is all Greek to me.

It sounds like the truck is irreverably broke.

And there is only one solution.

Head to the dealer…

and buy a Buick Enclave….white opal exterior, gray interior (just in case Santa is reading too!)








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