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The check engine light is a malfunction indicator that is turned on by the engine control computer whenever anything abnormal occurs. This can be an emissions system problem, but can also indicate many other problems. When teh light coems on, information related to the cause of teh problem is stored in your vehicle's computer memory to aid in diagnosing the problem; a technician with a scan tool can retrieve this information by plugging into the vehicle';s data connectorunder the dash.
When the light flashes as you describe, it indicates a misfire condition is occurring. Teh fact that it is occurring when climbing a hill (the engine is under load at that point) is usually a clue that the problem is ignition system related.
I would suggest replacing the spark plugs and spark plug wires if you want to try fixing the problem yourself. These are tune-up parts that need to be replaced periodically for maintenance anywway. If a plug or wire is starting to fail, it will cause symptoms exactly like you describe.
If teh plugs and wires do not correct the problem, the next step would be to take it in to a repair shop to have the vehicle scanned and accurately diagnosed beore attempting any other repairs.
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