Question about 1998 Toyota Tercel
I assume you are referring to the Check Engine light on the dashboard. The ECU (engine management computer) will have logged a fault. A Haynes manual or similar may tell you how to read the error codes that are stored in the ECU. When you have read the codes, it will tell you which engine components are suspect and need checking. As the fuel consumption has gone up noticeably since the light came on, it suggests that the error code will relate to a fuel system fault. For information when the ECU detects that an engine sensor is giving unexpected readings, it overrides (or ignores) the input from that sensor and replaces it with a safe "get you home" value. In doing so, this may lead to more fuel being supplied to the engine than would be the case if the engine sensor was working properly. If you aren't able to read the engine codes yourself, you might prefer to take the car to a garage and they will be able to interrogate the ECU for you.
Posted on Dec 25, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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The information below was complied by me, it explains what causes the check engine light to come on and the process of finding the cause.
When the Check Engine light (or Service Engine Soon) is turned on, the systems computer control unit (called the PCM) has sensed a fault in the electronic controls of the engine and/or the emission system. When this happens you will seldom feel the car engine run any different. There are about 200 possible system faults (the gas cap is just one of them) that turn the Check Engine light on, to know what has developed a problem you must have the system tested, this is called an OBD2 fault code test, Kragen/Oriley and Autozone parts stores (USA only) do this testing for free.
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