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Hello, I went to get a free diagnostic which only tells you what could be wrong on my 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier but not exactly what is causing the check engine light to be on. They said that is is the Evap emission system and only listed a few things. I have went to ask a few places in cleveland ohio how much it would cost to check and fix this problem. They will only tell me how much it costs to check the car but they keep telling me that there could be so many things wrong that they cannot give me (even) a price range on how much I may be paying to get the problem fixed. I thought that maybe knowing that it is a problem in the evap emission system would have narrowed things down a lot but I'm not getting much more information than "it could be anything." No one has attempted to ask me any questions to even try to tell me what it MIGHT be. All I know is that I put gas into my car one day and I think maybe there was too much gas that went inside because for some reason the gas did not stop pumping out. Soon after that the light came on. I have changed the gas cap and nothing happened so I'm wondering if I need to not only change the cap but get the check engine light reset or something. So I'm thinking that either it was because of that gas incident or by chance something else just went wrong around the same time that happened.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Trina, It is true, it could be one of many things to set this code. It is difficult to tell just from a simple diagnostic code, however, when you are searching for a proper repair facility make sure you ask for their labor rate. This will prepare you better for when the diagnostics proves the problem. Average is around $75-$90 an hour for diagnostics this is NOT including the cost of the part and labor to replace that item after your issue has been discovered.

Gelina Aquilina, Service Advisor / Mechanic at What they're telling you is correct. The check engine light can come on for MILLIONS of reasons, all relating to EVAP/Smog issues. Scanning the system give you codes. The codes need to be diagnosed. The EVAP system is very complicated and there are many locations where leaks can occur. People, like yourself, are paid by the hour. It takes time to figure it out and you're just gonna have to pay to diagnose.

Maryann Croce, Owner at Croce’s Transmission Specialists Trina on your 2003 Chevy Cavalier, You are correct in that a Free Code Read is not a diagnosis. In many cases it is only the first step. Think of it as calling a dentist and asking for a price because your tooth hurts. They will want to see you and may even need to take X rays to find out what the concern is. Since you mention the gas cap incident and that you've replaced gas cap, make sure it's the correct one for your vehicle and have someone clear the code(s). Drive the vehicle and see if the light comes on again. Then you will know if the issue is resolved or if there is another issue. Keep in mind by driving with the check engine light on you won't know if another issue has developed. Good luck

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