Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Don't Ignore CEL (Check Engine Light)!!

Your dealership or mechanic told you to ignore that check engine light,  since it is not related to crucial components? Lets take a concrete example: you got CEL, and the code for that is P0420

P 0420: Catalyst system efficiency below threashold - Bank1

And your car is not really running rich either. And you don't want to waste money to replace the catalytic converter and O2 sensor. OEM cat costs you a fortune: 900, 02 sensor: 100. Throw in couple of hours labor: 220.

Or you can go with magnaflow high flow cats, which costs ya 100 and 200 labor, Total 300. Still, you may get P0420, since the ECU can figure out (indirectly, of course) that it is not OEM cat.  Here, you may need to add a couple of O2 spacers.

You can find many O2 spacers on ebay.

Your emissions related components are covered for 80K/8 years. If it is PZEV, 150K/15 years. EPA also forces recalls on cats, thereby extending your cat warranty for another 2 to 4 years (another 20 to 40K). Do not take the car to the stealership. Do your research and give a call to the stealership with  your VIN number. Sometimes, you can get hold of Technical bulletins for your cat recalls, and take that to your stealership and force them to change the CAT.

Some mechanics tell you to ignore CEL. You know what's gonna happen? One day, you are a long trip, say, in Death Valley, all of sudden your car starts but does not crank. You end up in sweltering heat, and ruining your day, etc. This may cost you 2000. Once you take it to the local mechanic, he scans your car, finds that you have two codes P0420 and P0321. P0321 on your car is related to crankshaft position sensor. Further, your mechanic did some test on that sensor, found that it is not good anymore.

By not fixing P0420, you have ended up masking P0321 and other codes. Had you fixed P0420, you would not known about the faulty sensor before you ended up in Death Valley.

Guys, this happened me on the SONORA PASS, at 8500 ft altitude. A couple of miles after Kennedy meadows in Sierra. I had to tow  my car for 200 miles on Saturday evening. I felt so stupid. Now I keep the VAGCOM for my jetta. My CEL been there for 18 months. I just ignored it because it was related to CAT.

After taking the car to my friends garage, we worked it on Saturday, and replaced the crankshaft sensor, everything worked fine. Then did some research on P0420 extended warranty, had the stealership replace the frigging cat.  So, VW America changed the cat, due to some recall issue. So, I got 1000 worth of a new cat.

A guy here ( http://ruk.ca/content/2000-vw-jetta-check-engine-light) says:

"My 2000 VW Golf 1.9 TDI CEL has been on for years, dealership said drive it till the car quit. Have developed the sidewise spring dash light blinking. Doesn’t do this everytime I run it, but is becoming more freq. What does it mean?"

One day, he will face the same problem I did.

Anyway, I went back to Sonora pass after fixing the car. it is a great ride esp if you wanna fuck up your rental car brakes. Just take it to sonora pass, where you have 26 percent grade roads, just keep on pressing your brakes! HAHAHAHA. You end up loosing brakes, and have it towed!!

Ask me for places where to screw your brakes and trannys.

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