Got your driver's permit? Top 5 things to know about your car.

5. Check Engine light: Pay attention

Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Pay careful attention to the check engine light on your dashboard. It can signal a fuel vapor leak or other system failures.

If the Check Engine light comes on while you’re driving but the car seems to be running smoothly, chances are you can drive home and then have the car examined by a mechanic. The Check Engine light can signal any number of component failures, from a loose gas cap that causes a fuel-vapor leak to a faulty oxygen sensor that affects gas mileage. A blinking check engine light usually indicates a severe engine misfire that could damage your car’s expensive catalytic converter if ignored. So get it fixed as soon as possible.

Read your owner’s manual and familiarize yourself with all the dashboard warning lights. The more you know about your car, the less likely you’ll be asking the mechanic “How much?”

– Ray Cox is a senior ASE certified technician with, an online automotive-repair service owned by US Auto Parts Network

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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