Thursday, July 31, 2008

Check Engine Light: $80 I Could Have Saved If I Knew Before Going To Dealership

I recently brought my 98 Acura to the dealership to troubleshoot my check engine light. They charged me $80 up front just to hook up there computer, download the error code and translate it for me.

It turned out that my problem was a "low flow" indication for my catalytic converter. The dealership then quoted a price of $1000 to fix the problem and then told me:

(1.) It's far cheaper to go to a muffler shop. I compared 3 shops and found one that quoted me $479 to replace all piping, catalytic converter and muffler.
(2.) You could have originally gone to Autozone and had them tell you the trouble code on the car, saving you the $80. You would then have to go home and look up the trouble code on your computer.

I looked under the car and found that I had rust holes in the piping before my catalytic converter. I think that this is the main reason for the problem. From what I understand I could probably do a $5 temp fix to patch the leak in the exhaust pipe before the converter... I can also disconnect my car battery and reset the check engine light.

Since my car is getting old (only has a trade in value of $2k), it isn't worth spending $479 to repair the problem. I'm going to default to the temp fix and will go to Autozone if the check engine light comes on again. If I can't fix the problem, I can just go to Autozone periodically to get an engine reading to see if any new error/trouble codes have cropped up.


Anonymous said...

>>Since my car is getting old (only has a trade in value of $2k),
>>it isn't worth spending $479 to repair the problem.

If you have your eyes on a new car, it into the ground.
Otherwise, you might be able to stretch your dollars/mile by going for the repair should the quick fix patch fail.

Finance Junkie said...

I plan on keeping the car awhile longer (~2yrs). The problem is more of an annoyance and WA does not have emission testing standards like California.