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Old 05-19-2015, 10:40 PM   #21
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Reading the code doesn't mean much. I did some work on my son's car and a few weeks later it threw codes for both primary O2 sensors. I thought, both don't fail at once, what is the problem? My first thought was electrical. Then I mentioned it to a friend who is a mechanic. He said "vacuum leak". He was right.

Knowing the codes, hum, ho. Knowing what they mean, priceless.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:38 AM   #22
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One of the best things I ever bought was one of those code readers. Inexpensive and easy to use. Now they have Bluetooth devices that work with android phones, which I believe are around $25 or so on Amazon.

Never, ever go to the dealership, unless you don't mind paying extra.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:55 AM   #23
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I usually go to the dealership for oil changes and the "free" 29 point inspection. If they mention an item as needing fixing more than once, then I have my local independent garage fix it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:09 AM   #24
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I was in a midas shop recently. Muffler went two weeks ago and they installed new. Maintenance light was on and I thought it was service light. Duh, but not my car and I confused symbols. Went for oil change and that checked code for free. That surprised me. Of course it was o2 sensor. That was my first guess.

It would come to about $300. Is this worth attempting on my own?
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:50 AM   #25
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An O2 sensor could be as easy as unscrewing it and replacing it. But, getting access may be difficult and it may be corroded and hard to get off. Check Youtube for the DIY on your car.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:24 AM   #26
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It would come to about $300. Is this worth attempting on my own?
I've done a few front and rear o2 sensors. How handy are you?
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:54 AM   #27
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An O2 sensor looks like a spark plug with a wire hanging out of it. You remove them with a slotted socket--but otherwise it's like changing a spark plug.

You do have to make sure you're changing the right sensor--often told to you by the OBDII code on a scanner. They can be expensive little parts.

And be sure to put antiseize grease on the threads of the new sensor.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:00 AM   #28
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Google has made it easy to find out what is wrong with your car. Youtube has made it much easier to see what is involved fixing it. Most jobs can be done in under 2 hours with simple hand tools. The auto parts stores almost all have loaner tools for specialized jobs. You do pay a deposit based on the value of the tool--its like they figured people would buy and return the tool for a one time job so they just went with it! Thing is if there are multiple possible causes for an error code you can probably fix all of them yourself for less than the cost of one at the shop. And you would be surprised how often the shops do the same thing!
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:05 AM   #29
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the key word in car repair and maintenance is trust. A dealer has to earn it.

Cars, today, need less maintenance then a few years ago but it is much more expensive. The price of parts has gone up, labor rates have gone up and one of the reasons I like a new car every 3 or 4 years is the factory warranty......and, many dealers include all maintenance on a lease....so, I haven't paid a dime to my dealer (leased cars) in years.
Next, get a quote before you leave your car and then ask for the old parts when you have parts replaced. Years ago I got screwed by a private mechanic.....then found out that he had been fired by a Lincoln dealership for padding labor hours. So, doesn't matter if it's a dealership or private, get a company you can trust. And, I would go to the dealer.....they know about all the recalls.....they have the factory required shop equipment and my guess is the majority of them are honest....at least in my experience.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:21 AM   #30
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The only time I'd ever take one of my vehicles to a dealership is for warranty (free) repairs. Heck, they even offer free oil changes and tire rotations for the first 30,000 miles on new vehicles and I won't take them in for that either. I did try that once. I made an appointment, drove the 60 mile round trip, got there on time, and wait a little over 4 hours to have the oil changed and tires rotated. Never again.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:22 AM   #31
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Look for one who has a reputation for being a) honest and b) competent.
Yeah...
Looks like he's been drinking... no wonder!
The guy on the left is the shop owner... telling his wife... "That's the guy who came into my shop yesterday."
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:46 AM   #32
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Another reason to avoid the American car brands.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:50 AM   #33
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An O2 sensor looks like a spark plug with a wire hanging out of it. You remove them with a slotted socket--but otherwise it's like changing a spark plug.

You do have to make sure you're changing the right sensor--often told to you by the OBDII code on a scanner. They can be expensive little parts.

And be sure to put antiseize grease on the threads of the new sensor.
correct - scoobs, for example, have front and rear o2 sensors
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:57 AM   #34
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we have a few "tuning" shops in town that compete with the Subaru dealership so that forces the dealership to be price competitive with the local shops - we're lucky in that regard I guess
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:04 AM   #35
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RE: the O2 sensor...
Not always... expensive to replace. If the OBDC throws a code 0171 or 0174... (common in V8's), it may well be a dirty MAF sensor.
This happens in my car every 3 or 4 hundred miles, or when the car has been idling for a long time. I just reset the system and it's good til the next time... sometimes a few months.
A Cadillac Northstar engine (1996) that still gives me 28 mpg on trips. Been doing this since 2004. Dealer had estimated a $2600 catalytic converter back in 2006.

No matter the manufacturer, if you Google for Kia, Ford, Chevrolet, Datsun etc, etc forums, you'll certainly find an active forum that invites service questions, no matter how strange or complex... and almost always frequented by guys who really know their stuff.

When you go to a dealer, the diagnosis and service is only as good as the one or two guys who are working there. When you go to the car forums, it's the benefit provided by hundreds of guys who have been there and done that. My Cadillac forum is almost as busy as ER... and so far, have always been right. Simple... car year, model, and brief description of the problem.

The diagnostic on-board-diagnostic reader is a good investment. OBD2 reader available for $40 to $60... The good thing about these readers, is that you can look up the code, and know exactly what the problem may be. For many of the codes, the service suggestion may be unnecessary, but you can only tell this, if you know what the numbers mean. Dealerships will often point out a reading and suggest expensive repairs, even though the code may not be urgent, or necessary for another 10,000 miles.

My next door neighbor took her 2011 MKZ in every 90 days for an oil change and inspection because the dealer recommended this. $55 a visit. When she passed away in 2014, the car had a total of 4200 miles on the odometer.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:22 AM   #36
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correct - scoobs, for example, have front and rear o2 sensors
All cars built in 1996 and later (and some 1995s) have two oxygen sensors for each catalytic converter. V8s and some V6s have four of them. But the downstream sensors go bad far less often than the upstream ones.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:23 AM   #37
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The Nissan dealer is always trying to get my GF to change her *in cabin air filter* for $60, when she comes in for her oil changes. Once they even removed it, to show her how dirty it was. She called me up to ask my advice and of course I told her not to have it replaced (because $60 for that simple job is a ripoff). It's a 5 minute job, which I did for her myself. I think the filter was $12 at Advance Auto, and my hour searching Youtube and 15 minutes of labor were free. The dealership front desk guys really are sc*mbags, unfortunately. But I have found some very knowledgeable mechanics there sometimes, by just walking up and asking a question or two. I'd never have the actual work done there though, since the scumb*gs at the front desk would ruin it somehow.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:36 AM   #38
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No matter the manufacturer, if you Google for Kia, Ford, Chevrolet, Datsun etc, etc forums, you'll certainly find an active forum that invites service questions, no matter how strange or complex... and almost always frequented by guys who really know their stuff.
Online forums are great. I'm currently trying to sort out a rough shift on my MiL's 2000 Honda Accord. I signed up at Honda-Tech.com, posted a question and got an answer from an active member within a couple hours. Some of the most active forum members are professional Honda mechanics! Just try to talk directly to a tech at the dealership.

Unfortunately, in the case of the Honda, it seems that the transmissions from this period are prone to early failure if not maintained to the letter. So much for Honda's "bulletproof" reputation.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:22 AM   #39
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It's the upstream O2 sensor. Bosch 15380. $75-100 or so.
2007-2012 Nissan Versa Air/Fuel Ratio and O2 Sensor Location | Nissanhelp.com
Good picture there. I can do it. We'll see.
Need right wrench. might go this smooth.

Does the code clear automatically?
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:27 AM   #40
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It's the upstream O2 sensor. Bosch 15380. $75-100 or so.
2007-2012 Nissan Versa Air/Fuel Ratio and O2 Sensor Location | Nissanhelp.com
Good picture there. I can do it. We'll see.
Need right wrench. might go this smooth.

Does the code clear automatically?
disconnect the neg battery terminal and step on the brake a few times, that will clear it then you will need to do thru a driving cycle to completely get it out of the system


yeah basically you just screw it into the exhaust - if you keep getting a code you may need a new cat or you can just get a MIL eliminator which is a resistor you splice into the sensor. As long as you don't have to do a sniff test (i.e. put it on a dyno) you will pass emissions with the MIL eliminator and a visible cat.
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