I have a 1998 Chevy Lumina LS sedan (3.1 L V6 w/ 4-speed Automatic) with 85,000 miles on it (had 55,000 miles 4 years ago when I bought it), with a rebuilt Transmission that was installed around 70,000 miles. The only problems I've had with the rebuilt transmission since it's installation have been that it does not shift very smoothly in cold weather (~below 30 F).
I've had the 'Service Engine Soon' light come on today (it was particularly cold), and remain on, after I made a slow turn & quickly accelerated to about 35 MPH, but have not noticed anything significantly different with the transmission shifts or with the engine RPM (my model does not have a tachometer, so I am used to guesstimating it by noise). I have tried letting it cool off & tried again, but the light remains on, right from the ignition.
Alhough my first guess (& worst case scenario) is that the problem lies with the transmission, I've had a friend tell me that this may also be due to other things like faulty Oxygen sensors, timing belt issues, or the need for an engine tune-up. My last tune-up was about 2 years ago, and an oil-change will be due next month. Other problems with the car include a low gas-mileage (17 MPG City), and a slight leakage of the Power-Steering fluid (which I've been regularly topping off) every time the temperature hits the 20s.
The only other thing (which has never been a problem in the last 4 years) is that the temperature of the engine always goes upto 30% on the gauge (unlike 50% on other cars I have driven), and stays approximately at that level.
I am a complete novice when it comes to cars, and I'm afraid if I walk in to any garage complaining of 'Service Engine Soon', I am likely to get ripped off big-time.
Any help/suggestions on how to trouble-shoot the cause or guesses regarding what could possibly lead to this condition would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 AT 11:44 PM