loose gas cap & engine light??

klseiverdOctober 10, 2013

I'm in NJ... one of I think only TWO states where you're not ALLOWED to pump your own gas.

Back in early August, I set out on a 350+ mile road trip to WV. Over 200 miles into trip, I hit a 60-somthing mile stretch of SERIOUS inclines. On FIRST steep climb, car started shaking & bucking, serious loss of power, and engine light came on... scared me to DEATH!! As soon as I crested and started DOWN, light went off and car ran just fine. Figured I was kinda at a "point of no return"... closer to sister's place and potential need for rescue. This repeated at EVERY steep incline until I finally got to about as high as I was gonna be.

Car didn't stall, temp never changed, tach needle didn't go crazy??

Got to final destination but scared silly about what I was gonna do... another 350+ miles to get back home after about 4 days!!

I had checked oil and coolant before taking off. Had gotten tank filled night before leaving. As far as I thought, was just gonna be a LONG but uneventful drive. Once I got to WV, only thing I could initially think to do was crack open the owners manual... for maybe the 3-4th time only. Had small "trouble shooting" section and ONLY comment immediately mentioned about check engine light was a loose gas cap?? Even SAYS at gas cap that it should click at LEAST 3 times of light could come on. Sure enough, it clicked MANY more times.

When I got ready to start home, was almost holding my breath... trip starts with a pretty steep incline!?! Car made it up hill with NO problems and rest of drive (though a bit nerve wracking) was without incident.

Have made a few observations since incident. Before, had rare/ramdon episodes where car would sputter... but no check engine light... hmmm Last week, again NO check engine light but some occasional sputtering... lightened cap a few more clicks and everything was fine.

Don't really HAVE a "mechanic"... KNOCK ON WOOD, have only have to have things serviced... no major repairs. Know I have an "if it ain't broke..." attitude about a lot of things. Thinking if I actually take it somewhere, explain what happened... they'll SURELY find something BIG to fix??

Have you ever experienced anything like this?

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sdello

you never said what kind of car or what size engine. Bottom line is that the car's computer checks the pressure in the gas tank for emissions purposes. It wants to maintain a vacuum to minimize any vapor loss to the atmosphere. If the pressure is not within a certain value it will cause a fault which manifests itself as the check engine light going on.

Also, if there is a fault or if you got a batch of bad gas. The computer may retard the timing to prevent detonation (backfiring). This usually results in less power under load (going up a steep grade) and may result in poor detonation which adds shaking to the engine when firing.

I suspect your issue was a combination of the two and you had fixed the gas cap and got a better batch of gas for the ride home.

I'll bet it was nerve wracking but I'm glad you made it OK.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:33PM
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klseiverd

Car is an '04 Hyundai Sante Fe... 4 cylinder... about 114,000 miles.. pretty gently driven considering 9 years old. And experience was IN DEED nerve wracking!! NEVER expected any glitch in road trip... had been taken several time before in same car. Car gets same gas mileage today as when it we brand new. Only major thing done was replacing timing belt/chain at 60,000 miles... previious car imploded cuz of that??

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 6:09PM
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christopherh

Since your engine light went on, it's stored in the computer. Have a mechanic or dealer pull the codes. (a 5 minute operation) A loose gas cap normally wouldn't cause the problems you incurred.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 7:39AM
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