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What usually causes a check engine light to stay on, other than a loose gas cap? What part do I check out? There has gotta be an easy solution.
I had the same problem as you with the check engine light. I went to Harbor Freight and for $30.00 bought a code reader. I take the code and check it on the computer to find out my problems. I now keep it in my glove compartment so that when the light comes on, I can check it ASAP. I can tell you, it was one of the best investments I have made.
This happens to be quite frequently. Go to Auto Zone or one of the other type auto supply stores. They have an instrument (cannot remember whats it's called) that will give you an idea when the problem is coming from. Also, the people working in these stores will do all kinds of things for you. A few weeks ago a man working there replaced one of the lights in my front drivers side turn signal. This week they replaced a back up light that went out. Another time I could not charge my cell phone in the cigarette lighter and they replaced a fuse.
A young man told me what he was quite sure the problem was. I bought the part and a friend installed it. It was a fuel pressure regulator. That type work they won't do but minor stuff like bulbs, fuses etc. they will. Don't be shy, they are more than willing to help. Even if you have to take you car in for repairs those guys can give you enough info sometimes that when you go to a mechanic you have less chance of getting riffed off.
Just remembered; that instrument is called a code reader.
Just as a hint that was told to me is that if it's not flashing, you have some time to check it out. Be aware if it is flashing, have it checked immediately!