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Q: engine "surging" and tach jumping on 2002 Chevrolet Malibu

The car has 92,500 and in the past year I have noticed that when I am accelerating in 4th gear (especially at higher speeds) the car feels as if it is thrusting or surging and the tach jumps a small amount each time. I usually need to downshift to 3rd in order to stop it and be able to accelerate. Oh and the check engine light is on about 95% of the time. I have a feeling that this will sooner or later become a big expensive issue... Can anyone out there give me their thoughts on what might be going wrong?
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Autoknowhow is absolutely right, the check engine light being on indicates a fault code is stored in the on board computer in your car. This code will lead to properly diagnosing the problem with your car but a scan tool is required to retrieve the trouble code.
STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!!!!! There has to be a trouble code stored in the computer. Retrieve that and then ask for HELP.
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