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Hello, its been about two weeks now and for the first time my check engine light came on. I got an oil change soon after the light came on and nothing happened. Not sure if that was supposed to help or not anyway. I went to a local part store and had them use their device to check what the problem may be and they said that it was the "evaporative emission system." It could be that I need a new gas cap or it could be something like the Evap canister or hose being cracked or not connected, purge of vent solenoid defective, or vacuum leak at engine. I'm not sure whether mechanics charge to check these things or how extreme these issues are. Could any of these things ruin my car if not fixed immediately? It seemed like this was a minor issue but the easiest thing seems to be to replace the gas cap so I'll do that first since I need one with a lock anyway. If its not that then I'd have to search and find out what the other stuff is and what it means. Hopefully you can give me some pointers too. Thanks.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Fatrina, Yes, I advise that you replace the gas cap first, this is the most inexpensive deduction of reason, the other possible items will not hurt your vehicle if not fixed IMMEDIATELY. However, they should be tended to in a timely manner. Shops typically charge per their hour labor rate for diagnostics, for future reference.

Gail Dunn, Owner at Women's Automotive Connection Fatrina Yes, the most common cause of an evap leak is the gas cap not being tightened securely or actually leaking. Unless you just want a new cap, I would suggest you have a mechanic actually diagnose the problem an determine the cause. Otherwise you would just be throwing money at something you do not know the root cause of.

Gelina Aquilina, Service Advisor / Mechanic at There are MILLIONS of reasons why the check engine light could be on, and they're all smog related. An oil change will not fix anything. You need to have it diagnosed, a mechanic can plug into your computer and pull codes. Shop around, some places do it for free. FYI - parts guys aren't mechanics!

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