Question about 1998 Dodge Stratus

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The car is doing a jerking thing when the car is sitting still and the check engine light is on.

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Before you do anything else, have the computer scanned. Since the light is on, the computer has detected a problem and it's trying to tell you something, typically that it has stored a fault code.
Reading the fault code will tell you what the computer thinks is wrong and will give you a much more intelligent place to start rather than asking people to guess.
I wouldn't think of guessing in a situation like that, especially when the computer knows a secret and is dying to tell you.
Good luck.
BTW, you can often take the vehicle to an auto parts retailer and they will either help you scan the codes or they'll show you how to do it.

Posted on Mar 12, 2011

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The engine is running rough or misfiring. There are multiple causes; to get started on the diagnosis, you would need to have the engine error code read out. This will tell you what part or parts need repair or replacement. It could be something as simple as a clogged air filter or worn out spark plug or spark plug cable, or it could a bad sensor or fuel injector.

Many car parts stores will read the code out for you or let you rent or borrow the scan tool for doing it. The scan tool plugs into a connector under the dash just to the left of the steering wheel. Usually, you plug it in with the car turned off, then put the key in and turn it to the run position without starting the engine. Watch the "Check Engine" light; if it flashes, count the flashes to get the code, and then record what is on the scan tool display. The owner of the scan tool should have a lookup table to tell you what the code means.

Posted on Mar 12, 2011


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