I know I have had posts about check engine lights and auto maintanice to not leave you stranded by the side of the road. After a near disabling car malfunction recently involving my car rejecting a spark plug and the subsequent repair, I was faced with the problem of a persistant check engine light. Normally, I would tell you to toughen up and fix this at home. Being away from home and not having a code reader (gives the error causing the orange light and why my gas mileage is being halved), I took some time and found out that Autozone and Advanced Auto Parts will check the codes and tell you the possible problems for free.
These are tests are free because they hope you buy parts from them to fix your problem, but it isn’t a requirement. Even if you won’t fix a simple problem because you aren’t mechanically inclined at all, it still will probably save you a few dollars at the mechanic if you ramble off what “you” think the problem might be to not get totally ripped off.