This post originally ran on November 10th, 2014. it was in response to having an engine light come on in my car. It looks to be relevant today, so here goes.
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Top Ten Things Not to Do If Your Engine Light Comes On.
10 If your engine light comes on, do not panic. If you do, at best, you may make things worse by being rattled. At worst, you may pull off the road in a panicked state, keep rolling past the shoulder into a culvert below. (Now you have a mess of lights to deal with, Bud including the state police.)
9 If your engine light comes on, do not consult your owner’s manual until you come to a stop. If you do, at best, you won’t find the section inconspicuously marked “Warning Indicator – Engine,” and you’ll have to stop anyway. At worst, you will be concentrating on using the index to find the subject matter and inadvertently run into the stopped care in front of you. ( In any case, the index and manual will be of no help.)
8 If your engine light comes on, do not try to ignore it. If you do, at best, you will be continually reminded that something is wrong. At worst, your engine light bulb will burn out, and you will think the trouble has magically cleared up until you hear the rending screech of metal marking the final moments of the life of your engine. (Yeah, five quarts of oil in the drive is a lot.)
7 If your engine light comes on, do not think this is a normal function of the car’s systems. If you do, at best, you will only have a minor additional repair. At worst, you may be saying goodbye to your trusty car as you watch it disappear into the local u-pull-it parts depot. (With the added insult that the tow truck fee was more significant than the salvage payment.)
6 If your engine light comes on, do not attempt to diagnose the problem yourself. If you do, at best, you may end up at the mechanic since you couldn’t find the problem. At worst, you may have misdiagnosed the situation and be happily motoring along in a remote area as you see the light again, followed by billowing clouds of smoke. (This is after passing the last gas station for one hundred miles sign, fifty miles ago.)
5 If your engine light comes on, do not think it is an excellent accompaniment to the soft romantic music on the radio. If you do, at best, you may not be able to start your car someday. At worst, you could be seeing the beginning of the end of the soft music and your car. (Funny, you never heard that strange noise before.)
4 If your engine light comes on, do not pretend it doesn’t bother you. If you do, at best, you will have unsettled moments until you come to grips with the fact there is trouble. At worst, the light will trigger long-suppressed anxieties, which could cause a significant episode requiring hours of psychological help. (This help will make the repair bill on the car look cheap.)
3 If your engine light comes on, do not think your car is irreparably damaged. If you do, at best, you will lose confidence in its reliability. At worst, you will take unreasonable steps to get rid of the car, which could lead to significant loss of funds and peace of mind. (Thinking you could shove it off a cliff might lead to being cited by the state police for littering.)
2 If your engine light comes on, do not suggest to your spouse that you swap cars for a while. If you do, at best, your spouse will have to deal with the issue. At worst, the problem is so acute your spouse breaks down on the freeway, and a gang of carjackers comes along, strip, and burns your car. (In addition, your spouse thinks the lawless lifestyle looks pretty romantic and joins their crew and now sports a “Mess with the best, die like the rest” tattoo on the back.)
1 If your engine light comes on, do not drive the car to any place but the mechanic. If you do, at best, you may have a small repair bill which could get bigger. At worst, the problem will continue to get bigger until you are no longer controlling your car. (You will become its servant with all the negative attention related to the title.)