Auto Repair For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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If you're troubleshooting engine problems, air is simple — and probably not the problem. Your vehicle gets its air through the cold air collector box, or air cleaner. Unless the air filter inside it is totally clogged, your engine should be getting enough air to keep it going.

In a worst-case scenario, something has gone amiss with your engine control unit (ECU), and it’s keeping air from mixing properly with the fuel. If that’s the case, a “Check Engine” light should be glowing on your dashboard and the best you can do is call a tow truck and get to a repair shop.

But the problem is most likely something else: One of the vacuum hoses may have become disconnected, or your PCV valve may be malfunctioning, either of which could keep your car from breathing properly. To troubleshoot the problem, do the following to check the hoses and the PCV valve:

  • Look at all the hoses under the hood. Have any of them become disconnected or broken? Do you hear air whistling while the engine idles — if it can? One strategic lost hose can slow or stop your engine. If this is the case, reclamp the wanderer or tape the hole and you’ll soon be on your way. Of course, if you make a habit of checking and replacing worn hoses before disaster strikes, you can avoid this trouble completely.

  • Check your PCV valve to make sure that it’s clear and functioning. And here are instructions for checking, cleaning and even replacing a PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Deanna Sclar is an acclaimed auto repair expert. She has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including NBC's Today show and the NBCNightly News. Sclar lectures internationally on the ecological impact of vehicles and is active in promoting residential solar energy programs. Sclar is also the author of Buying a Car For Dummies.

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