I have a 2001 Chevy Prizm. Initially, the check engine light came on. I was told it was the cat. The car began to run sluggish and the R.P.M.s were eradic when I pressed the gas pedal in neutral. When I drive, the car wll become sluggish and not able to climb hills. I use premium and Lucas but this has not seemed to help. Everything I read seems to be directed towards the mass air flow sensor. Could this be the problem?
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Any check engine/service engine soon light? Could be a clogged catalytic convertor, search for cleaning a catalytic convertor. Try cleaning the mass air flow sensor, it is before the throttle plate. If you are losing coolant, your engine is prone to this, it could be leaking intake gaskets.
If the check engine light is on, it could be one of several different sensors. Otherwise, I would want to know what base fuel pressure is to start with. And has the fuel filter been replaced in the past couple of years ?
you need to start by checking your fuel pressure...thinking that your transmission is ok? any foul odor from the exhaust?? also would mean a plugged catylitic converter. you could check for a plugged cat by using a tempreture gun and measuring the front temp of the cat and rear of the cat...any more than 50-95 degrees difference then it is plugged
Of course your car is sluggish, cylinder number one is misfiring, that is why the flashing check engine light, if you continue to drive this car this way you risk the exhayst system overheating and starting a fire. Ge the car tested for the cause of the misfire asap.
Your check engine light is an emissions warning. Your vehicle will not pass smog with the engine light on. You can go to kragen or other auto parts stores and buy a GM code reader for it. Though it runs fine, its telling you that a sensor or something is bad.
4 years? you really need to find a mechanic that knows what hes doing. if you have replaced the canister and purge solenoid valve (muliple sensors? you realy need to be specific on what has or has not been replaced ) most times the hoses are not installed properly on the purge solenoid, or leak. the hose with the green cap/test port should be closest to the electrical connector.
The 1st thing to do is find out which one of over 100 codes is stored in the engine computers memory, whenever the check engine light comes on a code for that problem is stored in memory. You can go to any Auto-Zone parts store and they will run this code read test for free, then post them back here and I will help figure out what has gone wrong.