After the check engine light came on I decided to take my Corolla to a mechanic right down the street (Butch's Brake & Muffler). That was on Saturday, February 19. On Monday, he figured out that one valve wasn't fully closing and that caused the hickup (car sputtered and died at the traffic light). He had this just a few weeks ago and it's not an easy fix.
I had 2 options:
1. Buying an used engine for $500 or
2. Get the head fixed for about the same amount of money (he estimated around $1700). I chose option 2
At the end of the day Butch called me again and said that it was something else. Before he pulled the head off he took a another close look and found a piece of plastic that was obviously causing the problems. He removed it and put the engine back together the following day.
Cost of the repair: $513.97
Budget rental car for 2 Days: $75.70