Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Sun May 14, 2017 2:09 pm

I have a Toyota Avalon 2006 which I purchased used in 2008. It was a company fleet vehicle for its initial 1.5 years and 90K miles and has served my family well for last 9 years. I have taken good care of it with usual timely maintenance.
Currently my daughter who is in college 150 miles away uses the car.
About 4 months ago the check engine light came on . It was checked during an oil change and something was done (details unknown) and it went off but came back in 7 days. The car was driven with check light on for next 3 months (do not know if steady on or flashing). I recently took it to my (independent, reliable) mechanic who said most likely it was due to backfiring. He checked and cleaned and reset the spark plugs in the front 3 cylinders and reported that the spark plugs were in good condition. The engine light went off for 48 hrs and then came back on again. He said that opening and checking the back 3 cylinders was substantially more time consuming and costlier job and he recommended that it be done only if the problem persists.
The car is now back with my daughter 150 miles away. She reports that it is running 'fine'. Now the engine light is mostly steadily on but occasionally flickers while driving.
This car will be sold in the next 12 months. So I am fine if my daughter drives it with engine light on. However if there is any safety issue I would fix it now or sell it off sooner. Otherwise I am planning to buy a 2017 model new Toyota SUV in fall this year when the prices will go down with introduction of the 2018 models.
I read in another recent thread that a flickering engine light on is a safety issue and that prompted this thread. Thanks.
Ram

alfaspider
Posts: 787
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by alfaspider » Sun May 14, 2017 3:05 pm

Flickering means the engine is misfiring (spark plug fires but the gasoline does not ignite). That can be due to relatively minor issues like a valve cover gasket leaking oil in the spark plug well, or bad coil pack, or it could be a serious issue like a failed engine internal component.

As far as safety, worst that happens from a safety standpoint is that the engine misfires badly enough that it won't run. Prolonged misfiring could cause more damage to the engine.

If it's only happening occasionally, it's less likely to be a big issue and more likely an ignition problem. I'd replace spark plugs and coils first. Coils are usually a very easy DIY. Spark plugs are also cheap and easy- even though mechanic said they look fine you never know.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 10925
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Watty » Sun May 14, 2017 3:18 pm

The first thing to do is to have your daughter take it to an auto parts store and have them read the codes, which she should write down. Most auto part chain stores will read them for free. Be make sure that she gets all the codes since there may be more than one.

She can then google those codes along the year, make, and model of the car. The results may give you a pretty good idea of that the problem is.

In many if not most states you will not be able to renew the car registration if the check engine light is on, or has recently been reset, since that is relation to the emissions.

billfromct
Posts: 448
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:05 am

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by billfromct » Sun May 14, 2017 3:38 pm

You say "the car will be sold in the next 12 months".

Do you think someone will buy it with the "check engine" light on?

bill

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 5228
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun May 14, 2017 3:59 pm

As mentioned, you need to know the codes.

I have a Subaru with a P0420 code (catalytic converter efficiency below minimum) which means one of a number of things. None of these things are safety related. I'm working on the solutions one at a time and resetting the code (I have a code reader) to check each thing I do. One of the potential causes is old spark plugs and I just changed these yesterday and reset the code. I know that in the past, it's gone 100 miles before showing a new CEL. So don't expect that it'll come right back, necessarily.

If you were to trade in the car, chances are that the dealer will either do a check to see if the monitors are all ready or they're giving you auction money and it's going on a trailer before the weekend anyways, so they don't care.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Sun May 14, 2017 4:30 pm

alfaspider wrote:Flickering means the engine is misfiring (spark plug fires but the gasoline does not ignite). That can be due to relatively minor issues like a valve cover gasket leaking oil in the spark plug well, or bad coil pack, or it could be a serious issue like a failed engine internal component.

As far as safety, worst that happens from a safety standpoint is that the engine misfires badly enough that it won't run. Prolonged misfiring could cause more damage to the engine.

If it's only happening occasionally, it's less likely to be a big issue and more likely an ignition problem. I'd replace spark plugs and coils first. Coils are usually a very easy DIY. Spark plugs are also cheap and easy- even though mechanic said they look fine you never know.


Thanks alfaspider. This is reassuring. My concern was related to the safety of the driver. I had purchased the car for $12000 and even if it gets damaged to $0 tomorrow it would come to a perfectly acceptable $1300/yr in depreciation for a decent car.

The current Edmunds estimated price of the car is about $2500.(not counting the needed repair). I am not a DIYer. I will not even replace the wiper blades. (a combination of being lazy and a good hourly rate on my primary job). What would be the approximate cost for replacing coils and all six spark plugs by a mechanic. I am in Low COLA rural midwest. For somebody who will not himself do any maintenance on his own this car is coming to the end of its useful life. It may still be good for the next owner who will do his own work. I once sold a 8 yr old, 110K miles toyota camry to a 19 yr old mechanic who was very excited to buy his first car.
Ram

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Sun May 14, 2017 4:42 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:As mentioned, you need to know the codes.

I have a Subaru with a P0420 code (catalytic converter efficiency below minimum) which means one of a number of things. None of these things are safety related. I'm working on the solutions one at a time and resetting the code (I have a code reader) to check each thing I do. One of the potential causes is old spark plugs and I just changed these yesterday and reset the code. I know that in the past, it's gone 100 miles before showing a new CEL. So don't expect that it'll come right back, necessarily.

If you were to trade in the car, chances are that the dealer will either do a check to see if the monitors are all ready or they're giving you auction money and it's going on a trailer before the weekend anyways, so they don't care.

Thanks Jack. Glad to know that it is not 'driver safety' related. I will be perfectly fine with taking 'auction money' during the trade in.
Ram

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Sun May 14, 2017 4:53 pm

Thanks Watty and everybody else. Inspection is not needed for registration in my state. ( Edit: for rural counties, which is where I live)
Ram

alshayed
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:34 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by alshayed » Sun May 14, 2017 6:27 pm

The main problem with the engine misfiring is that if that happens enough and if (depending on car) it keeps sending fuel down that cylinder it can basically kill the catalytic converter(s). When that happens they may get clogged and the engine stops running. In my experience replacing cats can be 500-1000+ depending on car, especially if the car has more than 1 which many have 3 now.

So if it's been doing that for 3 months who knows what's going to happen. It could also be fuel injectors going out and not sending fuel into the cylinder.

User avatar
Runaway
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:02 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Runaway » Sun May 14, 2017 7:55 pm

The common cause for an engine light on a Toyota in my experience as a long time owner is something emissions related, like Oxygen (O2) Sensor needs replacing. I've driven months with that light on. Most reputable repair shops will read the code and tell you if it's something safety related, the auto parts stores will also read the code and in my experience tell you with the code means (until I bought my own $20 code reader, it was a frequent trip). You don't know if it's anything safety related until you have that information.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 3657
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Kenkat » Sun May 14, 2017 8:25 pm

I believe that particular Toyota V6 uses platinum spark plugs that are due for replacement at 120k, so if they have never been replaced, that could be one possibility.

As others have said, your mechanic should have been able to read the codes - maybe he has done that and is getting a misfire code which is why he is focusing on that.

User avatar
jharkin
Posts: 1230
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by jharkin » Sun May 14, 2017 8:31 pm

ALfaspider is right - flashing check engine light and the fact that the mechanic was checking the spark plugs and called it a backfire most likely mean you are going to find a misfire code when its read. the code will be something like P0300 which means random intermittent misfire, or it will be one or more P030[x] codes where x is the cylinder number that's misfiring.

Misfire codes should be addressed for all the reasons above. Raw fuel killing the cats, carbon buildup around the valves, its likely killing the fuel mileage and when it gets bad enough you will feel the car running rough with a lot of vibration and loose power.

Misfires can be caused by all kinds of things:

Fouled spark plugs
Failed ignition coil
Fuel injection system problems.
Failing crank sensor
Problems with the MAF, MAP or O2 sensors
Certain emissions systems issues like a failed EGR valve or clogged EGR system

When the code identifies a specific cylinder the first things to check is the plug, coil and fuel injector for that cylinder. If its a random code then you are chasing down all those other sensors and systems. I recently had a P0300 code on an older Honda and it turned out to be a bad EGR - when it gets stuck closed the engine runs lean.

lazydavid
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by lazydavid » Sun May 14, 2017 9:26 pm

Definitely get the codes read, or buy a reader and pull them yourself (takes 2 minutes, done by plugging a tool into a port under the dash). Then you'll at least know what you're dealing with. There are tens of thousands of reasons for a CEL to come on, the code that's stored will whittle this down to a small handful, if it doesn't point to a specific thing outright.

I definitely recommend that everyone keep a code reader handy, as they can help you quickly understand what needs immediate attention, vs. minor issues. Some of them are even super inexpensive.

wrongfunds
Posts: 586
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by wrongfunds » Mon May 15, 2017 7:18 am

My friend had a similar issue on his Avalon. I tried to help him but he drove in to dealer's new car lot and bought a new Avalon. The dealer gave him couple of hundred bucks for his old one. Neither of our wives would allow the sale/transfer of his old Avalon for me to take over. I felt I could have easily fixed it because I suspected all it needed was an ignition coil but I really did not want to go against the two people who count the most.

I think OP should do the same. I suspect he has the means to pick up a new one without feeling even a slight pinch (financially speaking)

carolinaman
Posts: 2499
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by carolinaman » Mon May 15, 2017 7:18 am

Watty wrote:The first thing to do is to have your daughter take it to an auto parts store and have them read the codes, which she should write down. Most auto part chain stores will read them for free. Be make sure that she gets all the codes since there may be more than one.

She can then google those codes along the year, make, and model of the car. The results may give you a pretty good idea of that the problem is.

In many if not most states you will not be able to renew the car registration if the check engine light is on, or has recently been reset, since that is relation to the emissions.


I totally agree with this advice. I have a 2007 Avalon and the check engine light came on. I went to Autozone, they checked it for free. I got the codes and it was a emission system sensor that needed replaced, which is very common. I took it to an independent shop that replaced it for about $250. Toyota wanted $450 to do the same thing.

You should always have engine check light checked as soon as possible. They are often sensors or other problems that do not need immediate repair, but some check engine problems can be serious and you can damage the engine if you continue operating it.

alfaspider
Posts: 787
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by alfaspider » Mon May 15, 2017 8:28 am

ram wrote:
alfaspider wrote:Flickering means the engine is misfiring (spark plug fires but the gasoline does not ignite). That can be due to relatively minor issues like a valve cover gasket leaking oil in the spark plug well, or bad coil pack, or it could be a serious issue like a failed engine internal component.

As far as safety, worst that happens from a safety standpoint is that the engine misfires badly enough that it won't run. Prolonged misfiring could cause more damage to the engine.

If it's only happening occasionally, it's less likely to be a big issue and more likely an ignition problem. I'd replace spark plugs and coils first. Coils are usually a very easy DIY. Spark plugs are also cheap and easy- even though mechanic said they look fine you never know.


Thanks alfaspider. This is reassuring. My concern was related to the safety of the driver. I had purchased the car for $12000 and even if it gets damaged to $0 tomorrow it would come to a perfectly acceptable $1300/yr in depreciation for a decent car.

The current Edmunds estimated price of the car is about $2500.(not counting the needed repair). I am not a DIYer. I will not even replace the wiper blades. (a combination of being lazy and a good hourly rate on my primary job). What would be the approximate cost for replacing coils and all six spark plugs by a mechanic. I am in Low COLA rural midwest. For somebody who will not himself do any maintenance on his own this car is coming to the end of its useful life. It may still be good for the next owner who will do his own work. I once sold a 8 yr old, 110K miles toyota camry to a 19 yr old mechanic who was very excited to buy his first car.


It is worth noting that an engine shutting down at the wrong time can be a bit of a safety issue. I wouldn't ignore the problem for too long.

For most cars, you could literally replace the coils faster than you could drive to the mechanic. Online parts price woudl run you about $100. Be prepared to pay $300-400+ for a mechanic to do it due to parts markups. A set up plugs should run about $30 if you aren't buying the fancy platinum ones. A quick google of the engine bay doesn't show any obvious access problems that would make these jobs more difficult than average. That said, if you are taking it to a mechanic, probably best not to throw parts at it and spend the money for a proper diagnosis. Coils and plugs are cheap enough that they can be worth "just throwing parts at it" as a solution, but not at mechanic's rates. If your first mechanic couldn't diagnose, find one who can.

TBillT
Posts: 252
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:43 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by TBillT » Mon May 15, 2017 9:15 am

If you are DIY type, one thing some of us Prius owners do is get Toyota Techstream with miniVCI cable available on Amazon and EBay for as low as $20. This is a "bootleg" version of Toyota software for reading codes and other maintenance. This is software you install on a laptop and use the miniVCI cable to plug into your OBD port. The main thing I use it for so far is managing my 2006 Prius TPMS tire pressure monitoring devices, which go bad at about 10-year mark.

Blueskies123
Posts: 173
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:18 pm
Location: South Florida

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Blueskies123 » Mon May 15, 2017 9:24 am

Did you do the big service required at 120,000 miles. They change the spark plugs
FIRE July 2015

Niemanterry
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:11 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Niemanterry » Mon May 15, 2017 10:00 am

Probably an exhaust sensor. You tube has a guy replacing back plugs on an avalon. Many parts come off, even the windshield wipers! Not difficult just time consuming. The you tube guy tells the socket sizes for each part removed.
I might even video this job as there are so many steps.

Rupert
Posts: 2249
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by Rupert » Mon May 15, 2017 10:45 am

I would rule out any ignition coil issues before considering this car safe. I had two coils simultaneously go bad in a 12-year-old Acura last year. The car was fine, then it started shuddering and sputtering (from the misfiring), then it stopped and wouldn't start again. This could have been very unsafe had it not happened in my own neighborhood. Note that the check engine light was blinking aggressively; it was not constantly on. A blinking check engine light means there's a problem with the ignition system.

invst65
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:04 am

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by invst65 » Mon May 15, 2017 11:10 am

I was on my way to Alaska when the check engine light came on in my Dodge Ram van. After spending a lot of money trying to fix it to no avail I drove all the way from Tampa to Alaska and back with the light on with no further problems. The light on my Hyundai Elantra has now been on constantly for 8 years. It wants a new catalytic converter for $1200 and it ain't gettin' it.

The only drawback is that you don't know if another fault gets thrown. The light should have a number showing how many faults there are. That way you could tell if a new one shows up.

alfaspider
Posts: 787
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by alfaspider » Mon May 15, 2017 12:19 pm

invst65 wrote:I was on my way to Alaska when the check engine light came on in my Dodge Ram van. After spending a lot of money trying to fix it to no avail I drove all the way from Tampa to Alaska and back with the light on with no further problems. The light on my Hyundai Elantra has now been on constantly for 8 years. It wants a new catalytic converter for $1200 and it ain't gettin' it.

The only drawback is that you don't know if another fault gets thrown. The light should have a number showing how many faults there are. That way you could tell if a new one shows up.


A solid check engine light should be renamed "check emissions." The vast majority of the time, the fault is emissions related because those are the primary systems OBDII monitors. Many places use OBDII for annual emissions inspections, so you will not pass inspection if it is lit. A blinking check engine light, however, is unlikely to be solely emissions related because faulty emissions systems rarely cause misfires.

As an aside, it really is absurd that automakers have not been required to allow vehicles with built-in MFDs to read fault codes without tools. The interface would be trivial to add, but manufacturers want you to take the car into the dealership when the CEL is on.

cjcerny
Posts: 177
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:47 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by cjcerny » Mon May 15, 2017 12:32 pm

Probably a bad oxygen sensor somewhere or a pressure leak in the fuel system. I would swing by an Auto Zone on a weekday evening (when they are not so busy) and have them read the code from the computer for you. In general, check engine lights are cautions that you do want to get fixed eventually but they are not "stop driving the car now" serious.

wilked
Posts: 1155
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:50 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by wilked » Mon May 15, 2017 12:41 pm

what was the code(s)?

bubbadog
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by bubbadog » Mon May 15, 2017 12:46 pm

Just had the same issue with a 2010 Toyota Venza with 100,000 miles. I believe it has the exact same 3.5 liter transverse v-6 as the Avalon. Stopped by the local auto parts store and the code read bad O2 sensor. I ordered the part on Rock Auto online for half of the price. I also remember reading that the O2 sensors are supposed to last 100,000 miles.

sunny_socal
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by sunny_socal » Mon May 15, 2017 12:59 pm

This is all speculation until you read the code. If a tech told me he "reset" the spark plugs I'd make sure to visit a different tech next time. (There is nothing to reset.)

I'd wager it's either O2 sensor or bad ignition coils. Go to a different shop or accelerate your plans to buy that new car. Good deals can be found any day of the month, just use the "internet shopping" approach and you'll do fine.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 2104
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by lthenderson » Mon May 15, 2017 1:10 pm

Even if you know it is something not serious safety-wise causing the check engine light and delay fixing it, something serious safety-wise could happen in the meantime and you would never know it because your check engine light has been on all this time. I've seen people shuck engines out of their cars because there was a check engine light on for some trivial emission thing that they had been ignoring when the serious issue occurred.

User avatar
wander
Posts: 2240
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by wander » Mon May 15, 2017 1:53 pm

wilked wrote:what was the code(s)?

+1. I was going to ask the same thing. Before someone can help you, it is fair to know what error codes that the computer is giving first otherwise it is just like throwing darts.

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Mon May 15, 2017 11:49 pm

Thanks everybody.
I did not actually ask the mechanic what the codes were. Will try doing so.
I did order the $13 code reader that was recommended. In the future I will at least know what the likely problem is before taking it to the mechanic.
I did look at videos of replacing spark plugs etc. There is no way I am doing that. I must say I am impressed by what many of you can easily do. I do make a decent wage but like a true boglehead I do not like to spend money if I can avoid it.
Ram

lazydavid
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by lazydavid » Tue May 16, 2017 5:08 am

ram wrote:I did look at videos of replacing spark plugs etc. There is no way I am doing that. I must say I am impressed by what many of you can easily do. I do make a decent wage but like a true boglehead I do not like to spend money if I can avoid it.


That's totally fair, everyone has their own threshold for what they'd do. I'm a pretty handy guy, but one thing that's over the line for me is changing plugs or coils on the rear bank of an engine that's mounted the wrong way. :P

But knowing what codes are being thrown can help you make the best choices about what work to have done. For example, let's say the next time you get a code it's for a misfire in cylinder #3 (middle rear). Now you know that when you go to your local indy mechanic, you should ask him/her to replace all 6 spark plugs, and the 3 coils on the rear bank. Why the extra, possibly unnecessary work? Because most of the cost is in the labor, and while they're back there, may as well replace anything that might fail soon. So why not replace the coils on the front bank at the same time? Because those you CAN do yourself. It's 1-2 screws and a cable connector, then they just pop out.

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:29 am

My daughter and the Avalon is home for 4 days. I just checked the codes. There are 10 of them:
P0300 (multiple cylinder misfire)
P0353 (Ignition coil C primary/ secondary circuit malfunction)
P0300P
P0301P to P0306P (misfire of cylinder 1 to cylinder 6)
P0353P

The car is shuddering.
I will take it for repairs on monday. I guess I should get all spark plugs changed, and the ignition coil changed. Any other suggestions.
What does the second "P" in the code mean.
Some of you had made pretty accurate diagnosis. Thanks everybody.
Ram

livesoft
Posts: 55514
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:03 am

Google "spark plug coil toyota" and have at it. Each spark plug has its own coil.

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mECuTis52xw
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

NHRATA01
Posts: 426
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: New York City area

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by NHRATA01 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:02 am

P just means "powertrain" as far as OBD2 codes are concerned.

The codes suggest new plugs and wires are probably in order and looks to be a bad coil on one of them, so I would start there. Although it is no guarantee that the misfire is being caused by the ignition system but from here it's the logical start point. Issues on the fuel side of things could cause a missfire too, but that would require some further diagnoses.

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:17 pm

Replaced all plugs today. Replaced all the coils in the 3 back cylinders. (Cost about $800 including 250 labor). Daughter says that the shuddering is about 50% less.
Ram

wilked
Posts: 1155
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:50 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by wilked » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:30 pm

ram wrote:Replaced all plugs today. Replaced all the coils in the 3 back cylinders. (Cost about $800 including 250 labor). Daughter says that the shuddering is about 50% less.

Should get rid of the other 50% when you replace the other half of the coils

keaton
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by keaton » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:15 pm

WOW, yup, glad you have a good paying job since you got taken for a ride on those prices. I hope you were the one that cheaped out on only replaced half the coil packs, and not the mechanic because that is extremely lazy. You can get a whole set of coil packs for 100-150 bucks plus plugs are very cheap....

keaton
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by keaton » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:17 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:As mentioned, you need to know the codes.

I have a Subaru with a P0420 code (catalytic converter efficiency below minimum) which means one of a number of things. None of these things are safety related. I'm working on the solutions one at a time and resetting the code (I have a code reader) to check each thing I do. One of the potential causes is old spark plugs and I just changed these yesterday and reset the code. I know that in the past, it's gone 100 miles before showing a new CEL. So don't expect that it'll come right back, necessarily.

If you were to trade in the car, chances are that the dealer will either do a check to see if the monitors are all ready or they're giving you auction money and it's going on a trailer before the weekend anyways, so they don't care.

Have you replaced the second O2 sensor? if not try that before doing the cat. and if that doesnt work, just get an O2 spacer, which will solve that code without issue.

iamlucky13
Posts: 441
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:28 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:41 pm

keaton wrote:WOW, yup, glad you have a good paying job since you got taken for a ride on those prices. I hope you were the one that cheaped out on only replaced half the coil packs, and not the mechanic because that is extremely lazy. You can get a whole set of coil packs for 100-150 bucks plus plugs are very cheap....


I agree that seems very high for half the coils and the spark plugs, and I'm surprised at 2-3 hours worth of labor charge, but it could be dealer pricing. Also, some manufacturers bury otherwise simple to replace parts. On a Taurus we used to own, replacing coils in the rear bank required removing the intake manifold and various associated parts.

I very much doubt anyone will find 6 ignition coils for that vehicle $150 once shop markup is factored in, which is usually similar to or higher than auto parts store prices. Autozone says $350 for a set of six coils for the Avalon. It looks like the OEM Diamond coils are at least $70 each ($420 set).

Even Rock Auto asks $325 for a set of Denso's, which should be comparable to the OEM coils. The best price I see is a discount brand on Rock Auto $160, and even shops using discount parts are probably charging more than Rock Auto.

Shops also seem to like to talk the owner into replacing the plug cables arbitrarily to bump up the price.

lazydavid
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by lazydavid » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:52 am

keaton wrote:WOW, yup, glad you have a good paying job since you got taken for a ride on those prices. I hope you were the one that cheaped out on only replaced half the coil packs, and not the mechanic because that is extremely lazy. You can get a whole set of coil packs for 100-150 bucks plus plugs are very cheap....


OE coilpacks aren't anywhere near as cheap as you describe--they run about $70 each--and even if they were, you know what ISN'T cheap? Having a mechanic take off all the upper cowling and remove the intake manifold from the engine to do the work, then replace all the gaskets and reinstall everything.

Replacing all 3 rear coils at the same time when one is bad is the right thing to do, and not lazy in any way. The labor cost to do one of the rears makes it a false economy when a second one subsequently fails. The fronts, on the other hand, anybody can do in 2 minutes. So why pay for them if you don't know that you need them? Or do you really think that after spending 2 hrs replacing the rears, the mechanic said "eh, it'll take me another 4 minutes to do the fronts, and that's just too much for one day"?

multiham
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:28 am

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by multiham » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:15 am

Am I the only person who actually asks the dealer to tell me what the price will be prior to getting the job done? Unless things have changed since I worked at a dealership many years ago (summer cleaning job in high school) there is a book (probably on-line now) that tells you the standard labor hours that are associated with any repair. Most of the time, it is as easy as multiplying the mechanics hourly rate by the standard labor hours for the repair and that will be your labor piece. They can easily give you the cost of parts which then gives you the total price.

As a very wise person said, what something is worth is what someone will pay. I do not think the op was taken advantage of. If he got good quality parts and the prices quoted in earlier posts are correct, and you have to do a lot to access the area, sounds fair to me. No matter what you may believe, everyone is out to make money. The mechanic, the owner of the shop, the people who make the parts, etc all need to profit. If you have the time and the knowledge to fix this yourself, that is great. If not, pay someone else to do it with the understanding it is going to cost significantly more to fix.

an_asker
Posts: 1723
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by an_asker » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:31 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
keaton wrote:WOW, yup, glad you have a good paying job since you got taken for a ride on those prices. I hope you were the one that cheaped out on only replaced half the coil packs, and not the mechanic because that is extremely lazy. You can get a whole set of coil packs for 100-150 bucks plus plugs are very cheap....


I agree that seems very high for half the coils and the spark plugs, and I'm surprised at 2-3 hours worth of labor charge, but it could be dealer pricing. Also, some manufacturers bury otherwise simple to replace parts. On a Taurus we used to own, replacing coils in the rear bank required removing the intake manifold and various associated parts.

I very much doubt anyone will find 6 ignition coils for that vehicle $150 once shop markup is factored in, which is usually similar to or higher than auto parts store prices. Autozone says $350 for a set of six coils for the Avalon. It looks like the OEM Diamond coils are at least $70 each ($420 set).

Even Rock Auto asks $325 for a set of Denso's, which should be comparable to the OEM coils. The best price I see is a discount brand on Rock Auto $160, and even shops using discount parts are probably charging more than Rock Auto.

Shops also seem to like to talk the owner into replacing the plug cables arbitrarily to bump up the price.

A few years back, I got the coil pack on my Toyota Camry replaced as well - it cost in the neighborhood of $600 IIRC. But my car's shuddering stopped. So, I thought it was money well spent. Oh well!!

NHRATA01
Posts: 426
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: New York City area

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by NHRATA01 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:20 am

If it was misfiring long enough, it's possible that the excessive fuel going out the exhaust has fouled the catalytic converter and that could be causing some of the remaining shuddering. Particularly if the engine feels sluggish and gets worse mileage as a result of the exhaust restriction.

The O2 sensors if they've never been replaced, probably wouldn't be bad preventative maintenance at this point. Some people like to consider them (at least the front O2s since they provide feedback to the engine's computer) wear items and replace them by 100k.

On one hand I hate to tell you to throw money and parts at the car but on the other a 155k mile 10 year old Avalon still has plenty of life left as solid transportation once this issue is resolved.

livesoft
Posts: 55514
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by livesoft » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:20 am

multiham wrote:Am I the only person who actually asks the dealer to tell me what the price will be prior to getting the job done?

No, you are not. And you always ask for discount on the labor rate and parts, too, right? ;)
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

sunny_socal
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:31 am

livesoft wrote:
multiham wrote:Am I the only person who actually asks the dealer to tell me what the price will be prior to getting the job done?

No, you are not. And you always ask for discount on the labor rate and parts, too, right? ;)


Absolutely. And at our local Toyota dealer we get 15% off just for being Costco members! :beer

If I were in the OPs shoes (ie. daughter 150 miles away with flaky car) I'd just drop it off at a good shop and say "fix it" rather than trying to swap out parts one at a time. No messing around.

rgs92
Posts: 1275
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by rgs92 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:39 am

I wouldn't let anyone I care about drive around in a car with 155K miles.

an_asker
Posts: 1723
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by an_asker » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:25 pm

rgs92 wrote:I wouldn't let anyone I care about drive around in a car with 155K miles.

I am assuming none of them made it to this thread then ;-)

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:39 pm

Thank you for all opinions. After driving it for 40 miles on the highway my daughter reports that the shaking is 90% better. It still has some vibrations when it slows down (such as while making turns). She will use it for next 6 weeks. Then she drops off the car with me and goes to Boston for a year. She will not have a car there. During the academic year 2017-18 I will fix the car to my satisfaction or get rid of it.
If we still have it she will use it during academic year 2018-19.
In July 2019 she will move to some other as yet unknown city, become a medical resident, start earning her own money and buy a new car. (Likely a new Toyota Prius). If the current car lasts till June 2019 then we will sell it in our city/state and she will buy the new car at the new destination.

If the current car can not be reliably repaired then we will sell it before June 2018 and she will have a new (to her) car by the time she returns from Boston in June 2018.
Ram

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:43 pm

NHRATA01 wrote:If it was misfiring long enough, it's possible that the excessive fuel going out the exhaust has fouled the catalytic converter and that could be causing some of the remaining shuddering. Particularly if the engine feels sluggish and gets worse mileage as a result of the exhaust restriction.

The O2 sensors if they've never been replaced, probably wouldn't be bad preventative maintenance at this point. Some people like to consider them (at least the front O2s since they provide feedback to the engine's computer) wear items and replace them by 100k.

On one hand I hate to tell you to throw money and parts at the car but on the other a 155k mile 10 year old Avalon still has plenty of life left as solid transportation once this issue is resolved.

Thanks. Good advice that I will keep in mind.
Ram

User avatar
ram
Posts: 836
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:47 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by ram » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:44 pm

an_asker wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:
keaton wrote:WOW, yup, glad you have a good paying job since you got taken for a ride on those prices. I hope you were the one that cheaped out on only replaced half the coil packs, and not the mechanic because that is extremely lazy. You can get a whole set of coil packs for 100-150 bucks plus plugs are very cheap....


I agree that seems very high for half the coils and the spark plugs, and I'm surprised at 2-3 hours worth of labor charge, but it could be dealer pricing. Also, some manufacturers bury otherwise simple to replace parts. On a Taurus we used to own, replacing coils in the rear bank required removing the intake manifold and various associated parts.

I very much doubt anyone will find 6 ignition coils for that vehicle $150 once shop markup is factored in, which is usually similar to or higher than auto parts store prices. Autozone says $350 for a set of six coils for the Avalon. It looks like the OEM Diamond coils are at least $70 each ($420 set).

Even Rock Auto asks $325 for a set of Denso's, which should be comparable to the OEM coils. The best price I see is a discount brand on Rock Auto $160, and even shops using discount parts are probably charging more than Rock Auto.

Shops also seem to like to talk the owner into replacing the plug cables arbitrarily to bump up the price.

A few years back, I got the coil pack on my Toyota Camry replaced as well - it cost in the neighborhood of $600 IIRC. But my car's shuddering stopped. So, I thought it was money well spent. Oh well!!

Thanks. That is reassuring.
Ram

itstoomuch
Posts: 4284
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:17 pm

Re: Check engine light. Toyota Avalon 2006, 155K miles [safety issue?]

Post by itstoomuch » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:48 pm

Wires and cap?
4 buckets: SS+pension;dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rental. Do OK any 2 bkts. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax 25%. Early SS. FundingRatio (FR) >1.1 Age 67/70

Post Reply