Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Escort, Jerking Car and Check Engine Light
Q: I have an ‘89 Ford Escort that just recently started having
problems. What happens is that the Check Engine light comes on during
normal driving and suddenly the car starts jerking and trying to go but
acts as though its being held back. I have had all fluids and filters
changed other than the PCV valve and air cleaner which is in good shape.
I changed the plugs, and other maintenance items, but it still has problems
and now more frequently though the light does go out at times and the
car runs as normal. I was wondering if you could tell me what this light
is monitoring and what can I do to put it out for good??
The light is not monitoring anything. It is the vehicle’s computer that
is turning it on to alert you to a system problem. The only way to turn
the light off, short of ripping it out of the dash, is to have your technician
connect a diagnostic scan tool to your vehicle’s computer and ask it what’s
bugging it. The tech should have no problem viewing the history files
in the computer to find out what it’s upset about. Once the information
has been obtained then the corrective repairs can be made to get your
vehicle running right once again.