May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

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May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby anonenigma » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:29 am

The Check Engine light on my trusty 2000 Camry won't stay off. The scanner points to the emissions system, and so far my mechanic has replaced the "module," the solenoid, and the EGR valve. Plus the gas cap, of course. I'm in a total of about $450. The light keeps coming back on.

I need to get the car smog checked (California) before I can re-register it, and the renewal date is just before Christmas. I'm not sure we're going to find a solution.

While I'd love to keep the car a couple more years, I may have to make a move. Which online car shopping service works best? I'm a member of AAA, Costco and USAA. I'm thinking of either another Camry or a Hyundai. The current rebates on Sonatas ($1,500 - 2,000) are appealing.

You wisdom in this mater will be much appreciated, as I haven't bought a car in 13 years.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby johnubc » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:49 am

I had a good experience using Truecar.com - I had tried Costco and BJ's programs, and neither were a good deal for me.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby hudson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:51 am

consider carbargains...a non profit....recommended by James Bragg of "fax attack"

https://www.google.com/search?q=james+b ... eheads.org

http://www.checkbook.org/auto/carbarg.cfm
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby bUU » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:09 am

I'd think twice before buying a Sonata. Our anecdotal experience is that fit-and-finish seems such that we'll end up having to pay for a lot of repairs down the line. I'm sure that they're "worth it" from a strictly financial standpoint, but when factoring the non-financial cost of "things going wrong" and the inconvenience of getting those things fixed, we decided to go a different way. I suspect, the move from Toyota to Honda (as an alternative to another Toyota) is probably going to be less jarring than from Toyota to Hyundai.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Nearing_Destination » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:27 am

Have you looked at some of the Fords? (The Fusion looked good for its price point.)
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby bUU » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:39 am

Wasn't going to say anything... but, since you brought it up...

We bought two Ford Fusions in 2012 (one 2012 model year, one 2013). We dodged that one nasty recall (it was a small bug in the code that tells the coolant system to do its thing, as I understand it - and the fix is going in this coming week). So I suspect we're happier customers than some of our cohorts who got hit with that recall.

Having said that, we couldn't be happier with our purchases. Though the 2013 is much better than the 2012, both cars are excellent for our needs. They're loads more comfortable than our previous vehicles (full disclosure: 2007 BMW 328xi and 2007 Honda Civic); the tech actually enhances the driving experience more than it costs (actually, that's true of the 2013 - the tech in the 2012 was overpriced - its price was cut in half for 2013); and with the exception of a few recalls recently (heck - Honda just recalled almost a million SUVs - it happens), various reviewing columns rate the Fusion close to the top of its class, at a significantly lower price than the leader (generally, the Honda Accord).

Needless to say, if you have any other questions about an owner's view of the Ford Fusion, just ask.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby midareff » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:43 am

Why don't you try the Pened car buying service? They tie it in with .49% financing if you want it. If you are not a military member you can join for $20. They also have a Visa gas card available that pays back 5% automatically each month befoe billing :D A true no brainer.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby norookie » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:46 am

:oops: Good LUCK OP!
Last edited by norookie on Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby johnep » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:47 am

bicker wrote:I'd think twice before buying a Sonata. Our anecdotal experience is that fit-and-finish seems such that we'll end up having to pay for a lot of repairs down the line. I'm sure that they're "worth it" from a strictly financial standpoint, but when factoring the non-financial cost of "things going wrong" and the inconvenience of getting those things fixed, we decided to go a different way. I suspect, the move from Toyota to Honda (as an alternative to another Toyota) is probably going to be less jarring than from Toyota to Hyundai.


I have owned several Camry's but bought a Sonata new in 2008 because it seemed to be a nice car and was a good bit cheaper than Camry. We pretty quickly realized it was not the same quality as Camry. It was not a bad car but just a cheaper car than Camry. Biggest factor was the ride and noise level but also some of the features were not as nice. This was my DWs car and we traded it in 2010 for another Toyota. We took a real hit on trade in value (unlike Camry) but she is much happier, hence I am happier.

Check engine can be a frustrating problem because it can be so many things. You may want to try another mechanic. It often can be simple, inexpensive things. If you trade your car with that problem, it will cost you dearly in tradein. I would make every effort to resolve the problem. Best wishes.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby bdpb » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:53 am

anonenigma wrote:I need to get the car smog checked (California) before I can re-register it, and the renewal date is just before Christmas. I'm not sure we're going to find a solution.


Have you tried every extension possible? In some states, you may be able to get a one time short term extension. In IL, this was six months.

The 2012 Sonata is a better car than the 2008. The quality of Hyundai products has been going up. A 2012 Honda or Toyota may be no better than a 2008 Honda or Toyota (and may be worse). I think a bare bones Sonata is a good buy. You should probably drive one before buying.

Shop using the online car buying services (not the ones you mention) and get quotes through internet sales departments. Have cash in hand or provide your own financing before you walk in the door. Then don't let them charge you a dime for anything other than what's on the quote sheet. You can do this in a week or two with some web savvy.

Never let the sales person know you need a car today. Now is an optimal time to buy a car at low prices. Nobody else is buying cars (holiday spending instead). Plan to buy in the last week of December. Car dealers will be looking to sell before the end of the month/year.

Take your trade-in Camry to Carmax and get a cash quote (clean it up and clear the check engine light first). You will know your lowest trade in value. Negotiate a price on the car you're buying first. Then negotiate the trade in.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Jerilynn » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:14 am

anonenigma wrote:The Check Engine light on my trusty 2000 Camry won't stay off. The scanner points to the emissions system, and so far my mechanic has replaced the "module," the solenoid, and the EGR valve. Plus the gas cap, of course. I'm in a total of about $450. The light keeps coming back on.

I need to get the car smog checked (California) before I can re-register it, and the renewal date is just before Christmas. I'm not sure we're going to find a solution.

While I'd love to keep the car a couple more years, I may have to make a move. Which online car shopping service works best? I'm a member of AAA, Costco and USAA. I'm thinking of either another Camry or a Hyundai. The current rebates on Sonatas ($1,500 - 2,000) are appealing.

You wisdom in this mater will be much appreciated, as I haven't bought a car in 13 years.


Sometimes a different mechanic can diagnosis the issue where the first one couldn't.
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Jerilynn » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:17 am

bicker wrote:We bought two Ford Fusions in 2012 (one 2012 model year, one 2013). We dodged that one nasty recall (it was a small bug in the code that tells the coolant system to do its thing, as I understand it - and the fix is going in this coming week). So I suspect we're happier customers than some of our cohorts who got hit with that recall.

Needless to say, if you have any other questions about an owner's view of the Ford Fusion, just ask.


Approximately, what was the sticker price on each car? Thanks.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Tim_in_GA » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:34 am

norookie wrote: Going to extremes if you know nothing about cars involves a "needle sized drill and drilling the light out". I've seen it done.


What? The light is just an indicator from the ECM. They will read the ECM during the test. You can reset the indicator with an OBD II scan tool or get an auto parts store to do it for free. Once reset, the ECM needs some driving time under different conditions to enable various readiness indicators. You don't need all indicators to be ready for the test. Here in GA I can have up to two showing "not ready" and pass the test. My oldest car passed with the EGR system showing not ready after I had recently reset the light. That car also indicated a problem with the emission system. Having my own scan tool I quickly identified a problem with an O2 sensor and replaced it myself for $40. Maybe try getting Autozone to read the code and point you in the right direction.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby bUU » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:39 am

Approximately, what was the sticker price on each car? Thanks
I don't recall exactly. Yahoo! Autos says...

http://autos.yahoo.com/ford/fusion/2012/sel/ ... $25,425

Add about $5000 for optional equipment.

http://autos.yahoo.com/ford/fusion/2013/se/ ... $23,700

Add about $2500 for optional equipment.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Jerilynn » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:41 am

bicker wrote:
Approximately, what was the sticker price on each car? Thanks
I don't recall exactly. Yahoo! Autos says...

http://autos.yahoo.com/ford/fusion/2012/sel/ ... $25,425

Add about $5000 for optional equipment.

http://autos.yahoo.com/ford/fusion/2013/se/ ... $23,700

Add about $2500 for optional equipment.


Thank you, bicker. That answers my question.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby norookie » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:52 am

:oops: Good luck!
Last edited by norookie on Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby MathWizard » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:36 pm

I'm little leary about a used car purchase right after a major flooding event, such as Sandy.
The car can run well for a while, but after several months the electric wiring is likely to
develop problems. You can't always tell from CarFax.

I'd do the following whether you get a new car or not:

Step 1 : Get a new mechanic.
He seems to be doing fix by iterative replacement. A good
diagnostician is what you want. There is no point fixing a problem
that is not a problem. Once you find a good one, hold onto him, and
give him all your business

If you want to get this fixed:

Step 2: Go to a parts store which will read the diagnostic code for you for free. Advance Auto Parts
does that here.
You can look up what the code means at the library, or on the Web.
For a corrolla the codes are given here, and are probably pretty much the same for all Toyotas.
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/135-c ... -list.html
For more specific info, buy a Chilton's manual for your specific vehicle (they should have them at the
same parts store).
Many emission control errors are due to a leak in the system. That is why a loose gas cap is the most
common and most easily fixable condition. It is liklely you have a bad hose somewhere, or even a bad
filter.

General fixes if you only get the general
P0440 Evaporative Emission Control System Malfunction :
OBD-II code:
For a diagram of an evaporative control system see:
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/repair ... 528026a70f

Maybe your mechanic did not reset the light.
Try resetting the code by unhooking the neg battery terminal for about 2 minutes. This should clear the codes.
Then you should see two trips later if the problem still exists. It may already have been fixed.

The gas cap was an obvious attempt a a fix.
The solenoid was a good guess, but I would think that a more specific code would come up.
The ECM module would also be my next guess if I had to make one, but that has been replaced.

You don't have much left in the system. My next guess would be the canister. It may have a crack in it. You can
just inspect it visually. If you find a crack, this is likely the problem. I did have this happen to me, but the crack was on the bottom
and it was not easily accessible. The mechanic found it through a specific trouble code.
Also inspect any rubber hoses for leaks. These are also cheap quick fixes.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Khuzud » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:14 pm

anonenigma wrote:I need to get the car smog checked (California) before I can re-register it, and the renewal date is just before Christmas. I'm not sure we're going to find a solution.


Note that in California, it is the seller's responsibility to obtain a smog certificate when selling a car if it's been more than 3 months since it was last smog-certified

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/smogfaq.htm
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby barnaclebob » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:42 pm

i would just buy an OBD-II reader that can reset your computer. Reset it right before the test and you should pass.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby tyrion » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:52 pm

California has test and fix stations. You could take it to one of those. I think they're called Gold Shield. It might not be the cheapest solution, but if you're not car saavy it's probably the easiest.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Watty » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:07 pm

Jerilynn wrote:
anonenigma wrote:The Check Engine light on my trusty 2000 Camry won't stay off. The scanner points to the emissions system, and so far my mechanic has replaced the "module," the solenoid, and the EGR valve. Plus the gas cap, of course. I'm in a total of about $450. The light keeps coming back on.

I need to get the car smog checked (California) before I can re-register it, and the renewal date is just before Christmas. I'm not sure we're going to find a solution.

While I'd love to keep the car a couple more years, I may have to make a move. Which online car shopping service works best? I'm a member of AAA, Costco and USAA. I'm thinking of either another Camry or a Hyundai. The current rebates on Sonatas ($1,500 - 2,000) are appealing.

You wisdom in this mater will be much appreciated, as I haven't bought a car in 13 years.


Sometimes a different mechanic can diagnosis the issue where the first one couldn't.


+1

Unless the car has very high miles then with a hard to find problems like this I would even take it to a Toyota dealer since they may be more familiar with the problems that year and model can have.

You don't have to do what they say and you can get out with only a diagnostic charge if the price they quote is too high. Be sure to ask about using used or non-manufacture parts or they will likely use new Toyota parts.

Even if they charge a fair bit to fix it that could be better than scrapping the car. A working 2000 Camry that does not have outrageous miles should still be worth a fair amount and getting it fixed would give you plenty of time to shop for a replacement car.

As is it will likely not sell for a very good price.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby midareff » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:29 pm

I would suggest you have the fuel system; lines, tank, etc, tested for pressure leakage. If you have developed a small crack in one of the fuel delivery lines, or in a weld in the fuel tank and filler system it could trigger the check engine light. No amount of changing parts will fix the problem until the leak is found and sealed.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Khanmots » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:44 pm

I'd be looking at the Mazda 6 instead of the Ford Fusion. It's essentially the same chassis (one of those dual-destiny, share dev costs deals), but I feel the body on top is better quality. I've not been impressed at all with Ford's fit and finish lately, and have a friend who's new Ford Focus has constant issues with water leaking into the cabin. That said, I've got another friend who's Fusion has treated him well... so who knows.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby bUU » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:48 pm

And I've got a friend with a Mazda (3?) and has had problems. Anecdotal data is rarely worthwhile.

This is the list I have relied on for objective comparisons ...

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/ca ... size-Cars/

What's interesting is that the Hyundai Sonata is #2 this year, over the (non-hybrid) Ford Fusion I have (#7).

So I'll shut up now. :mrgreen:
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby cpumechanic » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:04 pm

For what it is worth, in PA, the state now has all smog check computers connected to the state capital, and your VIN # is used as the tracking ID.
If you reset your check engine light just prior to the state mandated inspection, the fact that is was recently reset is logged, and they cannot pass the vehicle, even though the CEL is off. In the past, if the CEL was off, then they would just run the test on a different vehicle, and issue the sticker. I the current world (your VIN) goes to big brother in Harrisburg at the same time you get the smog test, they insist your drive the car several dozen miles to remove the codes just cleared flag. So... at least in PA, you cannot drive up to the inspection station, and clear the codes, then take the test, they won't issue the sticker.

Welcome to 2012, and interconnected computers.

That said.. in many cases the CODES that the OBD-II computer issues are quite specific, and can point to a single module or sensor (02 most common)...that you can locate and replace (in many cases) your self if you are handy.

When you think that an O2 sensor is $50, and most dealers want that much (or more) just to read the codes, you can save a lot of money if you have your own reader, and can use google to search for your vehicle type, year and the failing code.

I many cases folks have created detailed step by step how too's with photos on how to replace a module to address a specific code. (God bless folks with that much time on hand).

For a car as popular as your 2000 Toyota, I would expect hundreds or thousands of "hits" in google for a search for ODB-II codes it sends out.

Check Harbor Freight for an inexpensive reader that will also reset your codes.

Note that you may be unlucky and get a code that is called a "jackpot code" that points to many many different potential causes.. those can be a bear to pin down. :(

Lastly do a search for toyota forums, or "your car model" forums... there are many online resources you can tap to get help on car repair if you care to spend the time.

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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby Jerilynn » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:58 pm

Approximately, how much does a thorough pre-buy inspection cost? There is one shop around here that charges $19.95. I betcha a pizza that they don't do a good job.
I would expect around 100 bucks to be reasonable.
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Re: May Have to Move Quickly on a New Car

Postby tyrion » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:19 pm

Again, since this is in California, there are test and fix stations where you can take your car. I've been through this with an old Celica (turned out it was just the O2 sensor, but still was stressful with the deadline approaching).

1) Mail in your check for the registration. This will prevent penalties for late registration, although they still won't issue it until the smog cert is in.

2) http://www.bar.ca.gov/pubwebquery/station/stationlist.aspx has a list of smog and repair stations (and everything in between).

3) Take it to the station you select and have them read the codes and assess it.
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