Mechanics

SHOULD THE MECHANIC HAVE LET ME DRIVE OFF WITH A CHECK ENGINE LIGHT FLASHING

2007 Subaru Forester • 76,000 miles

I had my alternator and battery replaced together a month and a half ago. The shop told me I had to buy the battery there to guarantee the alternator. Last week I was going over a mountain pass at 1200 feet. On the way down my ABS and brake light came on and my speedometer quit working. I dropped into 3rd gear (manual transmission) so I would not have to break as much going down the pass. My car started feeling like it was going to quit. I pulled over to the side of the rode and was able to put the car in reverse. I turned off the car and when I tried to restart the starter was clicking. But, my car would not start. So, fortunately a nice family picked me and my friend up and drove us into town (we were in a no cell area). I had my car towed to the shop in town (Aspen). The tow truck driver did jump my car and my car started but quit. The shop in aspen push started my car and it started and ran normal. They hooked it up to diagnostics and could not see anything wrong. They told me that the alternator that was installed my be intermittently charging the battery. They had never heard of the brand of alternator put in my car. They have been in business for over 30 years.

I took my car back to the station that had installed the alternator/battery and explained what had happened and what the other shop had said. They said they would look at it. Which I made an appointment 3 days later as I had to work 12 hour shifts. I took it yesterday to the shop. They had looked at my car for 4hrs. Hooked it up to diagnostics and tried to mimic what I said happened on the pass. They said that it read a bunch of different codes. And that there might be a short somewhere and that subaru probably had a more in depth diagnostic code reader. But, that the alternator was working. They offered me a free oil change for my time. When I got in my car. The car wouldn't start right away and the check engine light was flashing. I went to the mechanic and said my car would not start and that the check engine light was flashing when it had not been before. They did not tell me that I could not drive my car with the check engine light flashing. I call the dealer auto service center when I got home. Approximately one mile from the service station. They told me that I should drive the vehicle with the check engine light flashing. Needless to say I was very disappointed and frustrated that the mechanic from the other shop did not tell me to not drive my car. I called the manager of that shop to ask what exactly they did to my car so I could tell the mechanic that I'm now going to have to have my car towed to. I also said that my check engine light was not flashing when I brought the car in. The manager said it was the speed sensor that caused the light to flash and that the car was ok to drive. Basically, acting like it was my problem. I will have my car towed tomorrow morning since it is the weekend.

Also, I am a woman. I'm a nurse and work on broken sick infants. But, don't know about cars. I did not know that I shouldn't drive my car when light was flashing. But, figured the mechanic would know that and instruct me not to. Since they couldn't tell me what was wrong with my car.
Avatar
Lisamaroney
August 26, 2012.




Hi this is Lisa again. The Subaru service repair man that took the call said do NOT drive my vehicle with a flashing check engine light. I just re read my question/explanation. (Must have been typing slower than my thought process)

Tiny
Lisamaroney
Aug 26, 2012.
A flashing check engine light means you have a bad enough engine misfire to damage the catalytic converter.

Saturntech9
Aug 26, 2012.
Sounds like you're losing power to the electrical system somewhere. Anyway you can get those exact code numbers the car has that would really help to diagnose it.

Saturntech9
Aug 26, 2012.
I have a list of codes that they gave me. They said they made my car go through scenarios that would mimic what happened. Like overheating, disconnecting the battery, etc.

Should the mechanic have told me not to drive my car with a flashing check engine light?

Tiny
Lisamaroney
Aug 26, 2012.
Yes not to drive with flashing check engine light. Also for the reason that is going to leave you stranded somewhere not to drive it. If you're not handy with cars I think your best bet at this point would be to just to take it to the dealer. Becaus its gonna take a lot of diagnosis and multi meter and know how to use a multi meter to diagnosis problem. Also most likely an advance scan tool very expensive to see reading etc.
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Saturntech9
Aug 26, 2012.
Could they have done something to my car to damage my car. They were "looking" at it for four hours. They were going through the lobby back and forth with their backs to me with parts in a box. The whole experience just feels icky and the response from the manager of the shop was oh well. Your car was ok to drive with a flashing light.

Tiny
Lisamaroney
Aug 26, 2012.
I will have it towed to the dealer tomorrow morning. Which will not be covered fully by my towing insurance because of mileage : (

Tiny
Lisamaroney
Aug 26, 2012.
Oops and the pass that I went over was 12000 feet not 1200

Tiny
Lisamaroney
Aug 26, 2012.
Anything is possible but that doesn't sound like they did a very good job repairing your car. I would contact the Better Business Bureau of automotive repair in your area for what happened with repairs.

Saturntech9
Aug 26, 2012.
Thank you. They didn't repair anything. Now I have to tow it somewhere else and they take no responsibility for the change in "status" I will contact the BBB.

Tiny
Lisamaroney
Aug 26, 2012.

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