It’s just a check engine light, Chuck. Just a check engine light.

Let’s start out with the positives. Lightning’s Girl (my 2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier) may be the best car I’ve ever owned. It’s quiet, it’s comfortable, it handles like a charm and it’s a big middle finger to the petroleum companies.

But then a little light popped on in my car.

The check engine light.

Oh no.

And if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that whenever my car has to go into the shop, for any reason at all … it’s a harrowing, emotionally draining experience. Go in for an oil change, leave with $4,000 worth of “necessary repairs.” I’ve had car failures with my ’91 Pontiac 6000 (mostly fuel lines), my ’05 Saturn Ion (the General Motors “ignition electricity” issue), and my 2013 Chevrolet Cruze (every year I had to deal with cracked valves of one kind or another).

So when the check engine light lit up on Lightning’s Girl … my blood pressure went TILT. I don’t need this. I have a reunion weekend at Hamilton College and I can’t miss it for a damn check engine light.

At this point in time, I had three options. I could either:

  • Drive to Oneida County and back, ignoring the check engine light and taking a chance.
  • Put a piece of black electrical tape over the check engine light. If I don’t see it, I don’t know that it’s on.
  • Cancel my reunion, stay home and sulk all weekend.

And in the end, I went with Option D. Okay, let’s check with DePaula Chevrolet and …

I can’t do it. Not DePaula Chevrolet. Not this time.

No. It’s time for another dealership.

I checked the Chevrolet dealerships in the area. And apparently DeNooyer Chevroelt on Wolf Road has two certified master Voltec technicians, the ones who specialize in Chevrolet’s hybrid vehicles.

Appointment set up. I brought Lightning’s Girl in.

And I have to tell you this. DeNooyer Chevrolet totally caught me off-guard.

The moment I drove into the service bay, parked the car and got out … I saw my car listed on a nearby television screen, with a notation that my tires were perfectly aligned.

Wait, how is this possible? Isn’t my car supposed to go on an elevated lift and some technician straps reflective clamps to my wheels and some funky strobe light stuff happens afterward?

No. Apparently when I drove into the service bay, several sensors and cameras automatically checked my tires and alignment. This is magic, I tell you.

Immediately I was greeted by one of DeNooyer’s service people. “Don’t worry, Mr. Miller,” he said. “We’ll have your car looked over by Brandon, he’s the youngest maser Voltec mechnic in New York. You’re in good hands.”

Okay. Well then, let’s go Brandon. 😀

A few hours later, the rep at DeNooyer called me.

“Please tell me you have good news,” I said.

“Good news and bad news,” he replied.

Ohh … kay …

“The check engine light came on because of a defective ERG coolant gasket. Brandon ordered a new one and it’ll be ready tomorrow for installation, if that’s not too late.”

I can live with tomorrow … that’ll still give me 24 hours to get to the reunion.

Okay, how much is this going to cost me?

“Well, Mr. Miller, that’s the good news. Your Chevrolet Volt is covered by a PZED warranty, which covers nearly everything on the car for 150,000 miles or until the year 2030, whichever comes first. And that warranty transfers to whomever owns the Volt, so long as the car does not have a salvaged title. Your repair is free. I’ll call you tomorrow when the car is fixed.”

Sure enough, Wednesday morning, at around 9:30 a.m. – DeNooyer Chevrolet called me. Car is fixed. And they did a multi-point inspection on Lightning’s Girl, and it’s in excellent shape. “Brandon looked over everything, and your car is all ready to go.”

Well then, Thank You Brandon. 😀

I picked up Lightning’s Girl at around lunchtime. Started it up. No check engine light.

I guess it’s official. I have a new Chevrolet repair shop lined up.

Oh, and one other thing. I asked DeNooyer Chevrolet to add one of their branded license plate frames.

If I’m going to support a business that takes care of my car, I damn well want to make sure EVERYONE knows who I support.