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My check engine light came on in my 2005 Ford Taurus I'm trying to figure out what the problem is
 

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Check engine light has been ON on mine for the past 15 years - I could care less. Car runs fine, gets rated mileage, plenty of power, oil's clean - that's my 'check engine' checklist.
(They don't call it 'the money light' for nothing.)
 

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More scare talk. That's what the dealers want you to think. It's how they take money from your pocket and put it into theirs.
 

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^^^^ WRONG!
While some issues that turn on the CEL are not critical and the car will seem to run fine, other issues, if not taken care of, can cause serious or even catastrophic engine and drivetrain damage.
 

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Yeah, I've only been wrenching on, racing (professionally) and writing about engines (for manufacturers) for almost 50 years, what do I know?
 

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Yeah, I've only been wrenching on, racing (professionally) and writing about engines (for manufacturers) for almost 50 years, what do I know?
And yet every manufacturer - bar none - says in their owners manual that if the check engine light comes on, get it seen by a qualifed mechanic asap.

Of course it might be minor eg the light I got when a cell in my battery failed. But it might not be. It might be ok for you, a professional racing car driver, to drive with a check engine light on, but it might not be ok for others.
 

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Also, I am sure that many, if not most, of us live in areas where annual or biannual emission tests / scans with OBDII code readers and the vehicle will automatically flunk if the CEL is on or any emission related codes are present. Failing the test = no renewal of the cars state registration = the car cannot be driven legally on public roads.
 

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^^^^^ Agree fully. What's the harm to have the CEL checked for free and fix it for less than $100. Most repairs on these cars are cheap if you don't let it get worst.

Check engine light has been ON on mine for the past 15 years - I could care less. Car runs fine, gets rated mileage, plenty of power, oil's clean - that's my 'check engine' checklist.
(They don't call it 'the money light' for nothing.)
And you never check to see what it was in 15 years? Not even interested. Seems strange since if you have all that experience and should have a pretty good scan tool. Or after 50 years you never used one! I found them very informative and helpful. Especially the Forscan you can load on a PC, it gives you great insight into how new engines work
 

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Look, guys, here's my argument: if someone who enjoys working on their car wants to get a good scanner and track down and repair all the faults in their old Taurus, great, have fun. That can be very satisfying. I also very much enjoy maintaining and repairing my wife's 99 Taurus and my old POS Cavalier. And I love watching the vids of pros doing their thing - respect!
(Yes, I've got a cheapo scan tool I use.)

If someone who doesn't have the skills or desire to do such work doesn't mind paying a pro to make the CEL go away, that's great too. For these folks the peace of mind is worth the money.

But a great many of those who are driving around in 15 or 20-year-old Taurus' are doing so because they not only don't have the skills or desire to repair their own cars, they also can't really afford to pay a pro to work on it every time the CEL comes on. And let's face it, most of those CEL warnings aren't 'mission critical', right? Someone gives a young person a beater Taurus that's worth less than a grand but basically runs okay.... well, keep the oil and fluids clean, drive it and don't get into a panic about the CEL unless the car's doing something weird.

And yeah, if you can't register the car with the CEL on, well, get it fixed, or find a way to make the CEL go away w/o spending any money.
 

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Information is knowledge. Knowing WHY the light is on tells you plenty, not resetting it leaves you in the dark.
 

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I prefer my "Carchip" which recorded events as per the settings I put in. Pic is a trip in Lin Cont and when I was stopped for an accident on the interstate. Tells me the car does not have enough charging power to handle idling in traffic. At about 11 minutes, I started to move a bit so then in gear and using the brakes. BK lights along with A/C over power the charging system. 130A Alt same as DOHC Bull G-4 is not enough for the Lin. Alt failed two times before 80K. Car traded.
Just for whatever!
-chart-
 

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I prefer my "Carchip" which recorded events as per the settings I put in. Pic is a trip in Lin Cont and when I was stopped for an accident on the interstate. Tells me the car does not have enough charging power to handle idling in traffic. At about 11 minutes, I started to move a bit so then in gear and using the brakes. BK lights along with A/C over power the charging system. 130A Alt same as DOHC Bull G-4 is not enough for the Lin. Alt failed two times before 80K. Car traded.
Just for whatever!
-chart-
During the summer vacations in Japan, when the expressways are jammed up with endless traffic, it's common for cars (newish Japanese cars!) to stop with dead batteries because the alts can't keep up with extended idling with AC and radio on.
 

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Look, guys, here's my argument: if someone who enjoys working on their car wants to get a good scanner and track down and repair all the faults in their old Taurus, great, have fun. That can be very satisfying. I also very much enjoy maintaining and repairing my wife's 99 Taurus and my old POS Cavalier. And I love watching the vids of pros doing their thing - respect!
(Yes, I've got a cheapo scan tool I use.)

If someone who doesn't have the skills or desire to do such work doesn't mind paying a pro to make the CEL go away, that's great too. For these folks the peace of mind is worth the money.

But a great many of those who are driving around in 15 or 20-year-old Taurus' are doing so because they not only don't have the skills or desire to repair their own cars, they also can't really afford to pay a pro to work on it every time the CEL comes on. And let's face it, most of those CEL warnings aren't 'mission critical', right? Someone gives a young person a beater Taurus that's worth less than a grand but basically runs okay.... well, keep the oil and fluids clean, drive it and don't get into a panic about the CEL unless the car's doing something weird.

And yeah, if you can't register the car with the CEL on, well, get it fixed, or find a way to make the CEL go away w/o spending any money.
While not mission critical, most of the time you will waste gas and have low fuel economy at the least and end up damaging the catalytic converters and that will be expensive. Same for transaxle if you ignore the codes.
I drive both my '99 taurus wagon 293K and sable 248K daily.
 

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Before getting too excited, do what was suggested, take it to a parts store and get the code. Once you get the code, you can look it up on line. Then decide if you want to fix it or put a bandaid over the check engine light.
 
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