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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 32375
Experience:  20+ yrs. experience as repair shop manager and technician.
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Toyota Tacoma 4x4 My check engine light came on this afternoon

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My check engine light came on this afternoon as I was pulling into my driveway. I've scheduled an appointment with the nearest Toyota dealership, but it is 120 miles away. Is it safe to drive all that distance or do I need to make some sort of other arraignments?

the check engine light only comes on when the onboard computer detects a fault in either the engine management system, transmission, or emission control system. Faults can range from vacuum leak, engine misfire, transmission problem, emission control leak, one of dozens of engine or transmission sensors, or even internal engine or transmission failure. There are over 600 fault codes that can cause the check engine light to come on. And not every one has symptoms you can feel or see or hear.

The only way to determine which of the over 600 faults is responsible is to have the onboard computer read with a diagnostic scanner. once this is done and the fault code retreived then pinpoint diagnosis can be done and repair done.

without knowing which of the over 600 faults is responsible, it is simply impossible, as well as irresponsible for anyone to guess at to which one is responsible for the check engine light coming on.

without knowing the fault codes, I, nor anyone else, can say whether it is safe to continue driving the truck. Unless you live in California, you can run your car by any major parts store and they will retreive the fault code and definition for you for FREE. At that point, you can decide if this is something you can repair yourself or have a professional do the repair, as well as whether it is safe to drive to the dealer 120 miles away, or whether you need to seek out a shop closer to home or have towed to dealer
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I live on the Hopi reservation and so I have to get it to Flagstaff (roughly 120 miles away). I just had the truck inspected at the dealership and they said it was okay. I did have some work done: changed the spark plugs, cleaned the air filter, and all four gear box fluids were changed. I just want to know if I'm going to irreparably damage the truck if I do drive it to Flagstaff.

unless I know the code, I cant give a 100% guarantee of that. However if there are no symptoms such as the engine running rough or stalling out, or transmission slipping or shifting hard, then you should be safe to drive it there.

Hope the fires have spared the Reservation.
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