The check-engine light came on on the old man car and while I was running errands, I took it to Auto Zone so they could plug in their little gizmo and tell me what the trouble might be.
"Insufficient coolant" the guy said, to which I promptly replied "bullshit." The car runs cool, the little temp gage in the lower part of the range, but we opened the radiator (or what passes for a radiator in newer cars) and looked inside. The coolant looked muddy. so I figure maybe it's time to flush the radiator, burp the system, and add new coolant.
I did that this morning. The old coolant looked like muddy water so I ran the water hose through the radiator and knocked out most of the crud, then I refilled it with new coolant, ran the engine for a little while (until the defroster blew hot), then topped off the system. We'll check the coolant for a few days, make sure everything is good to go, then if the light stays on, we'll take it back and get them to re-check it. My mechanic tells me that the light will stay on for several cycles after the fault is cured, unless you've to a gizmo to turn it off.
In other news, I took my pickup truck to the dealership yesterday. The check engine light is on, and it's running rough. It seems that Ford decided to install a coolant line as part of the intake manifold, a gasket in there blew and flooded coolant into the spark-plug wells of the #1 and #2 cylinder. Apparently, the only way to fix that glitch is to install a new intake manifold. Google 2001 Ford intake and you'll start reading all sorts of horror stories about that engineering change. Evidently, for a while they used a plastic intake manifold that caused all manner of hellish problems.
But, the wrench at the dealership tells me that a new intake manifold will solve all my problems, so I told him to install on. He'll change the plugs and coil-packs while he's in there, and I should be good to go on the pickup. I haven't paid a truck note in five years and if I can get four or five more years out of this pickup, I'll feel like I've done good. $1300.00 is a bitter pill to swallow, but that's only three or four months of pickup note payments. I'll swallow that pill and not have a note.