I've got one vehicle whose 'check engine' light has been illuminated for at least 5 years.  I would take it in and they would check everything, tell me it's fine, and send me on my way.

They, of course, would reset the light...which was the only symptom of anything wrong.  So, it didn't cost me that much.  (They didn't do that much to be honest) So, I was kind of surprised to find out what the "average" cost was quite high.

CarMD says the average cost of a check engine light repair is $393.  The most common problem involves the catalytic converter . . . and the CHEAPEST potential issue involves the gas cap.

There's also a list of the 10 most common issues that you may want to look into for yourself.

  • Catalytic converter replacement
  • The oxygen sensor
  • Spark plugs
  • Mass air flow sensor
  • The fuel tank cap
  • The ignition coils
  • The fuel injectors
  • The thermostat
  • Along with two different issues involving the "evaporative emissions purge," which will run you around $150 each.

That gas cap seems to be a big problem.  I've had multiple cars that just needed a new one that gave the tank a better seal or I would only notice the light coming on after my wife drove my car and filled up.

So...not even that often really.

But odds are you're just going to screw things up.  So find yourself a trustworthy mechanic that won't bend you over when that little orange light comes on next time.

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