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Old 10-05-2010, 05:15 PM
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Default Malfunction Indicator Light ON!

Well, I did a U-turn the other day crossing a dirt median, and coming back on the other side I drove my 2001 Chrysler Sebring over a lip that scraped the underneath of my car. This has happened to everyone, and I cursed a bit, but then forgot about it until about ten or more minutes later when the Malfunction Indactor Light turned on. This was Saturday, now it's Tuesday and the light is still on. It's not flashing, but persistently there. So what's up?

My owner's manual says:

"Malfunction Indicator Light: This light is part of an onboard diagnostic system called OBD that monitors engine and automatic transmission control systems. The light will illuminate as long as the key is in the ON position, prior to engine start up. Approximately 12 seconds later the MIL may blink for 10 second then resume to full illumination. If the bulb does not come on when turning the key from OFF to ON, have the condition checked promptly.
Certain conditions such as a loose or missing gas cap or poor fuel quality may illuminate the ilght after engine start. The vehicle should be serviced if the light stays on through several of your typical driving cycles. In most situations the vehicle will drive normally and will not require towing.
The Malfunction Indicator Light flashes to alert to serious conditions that could lead to immediate loss of power or severe catalytic converter damage. The vehicle should be serviced as soon as possible if this occurs."

ALL TO SAY, I'm in the "vehicle should be serviced if the light stays on" category. So the car continues to run fine, and I'm considering servicing the vehicle myself. For a while now, I've wanted to get into OBD so I was wondering how to go about doing that?

And if anyone has any idea about what the Malfunction Indicator Light might be indicating, I would appreciate it. Nothing is leaking underneath as far as I can tell.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my little problem.
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:59 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Detroit suburb
Posts: 4,694

Take it to Autozone and ask them to read the codes that are stored on the computer in the car. If you don't live in California, they will probably do it for free. Alternatively, buy an OBD II code reader and plug it in yourself. The plug is under the dash, near the steering column.
In your off road exploring, you may have damaged a catalytic converter or an oxygen sensor. You should look into the reason for the MIL light ASAP.
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