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I'm having trouble with my 1997 Ford Explorer. The car is a hand me down from my parents so when something goes wrong I of course ask my dad about it. The first thing is the check engine light goes on stays on for a few days then it goes out and could stay out for months and then comes back on. My dad says this happened all the time when he owned it and not to worry. Also I keep hearing a ticking sound. It's very pronounced when there are sidewalks on either side of me. When I'm in a parking lot or driving I can hear it but not as loud. Any idea what the ticking sound might be and why the check engine light keeps going on and off. I don't maybe drive the car 8,000 to 10,000 miles a year, but I'd want to keep this car for as long as possible.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Sindy, With your check engine light intermittent, you can visit your local auto parts store and have them hook the diagnostic scan tool up to search for codes. This can give you a benchmark to remedy your concern, at times you can simply replace your gas cap. Over time the gasket seat can wear causing vapors to escape past the charcoal canister, and overtime can reset turning the check engine light off for a while.

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