Have a 2003 Highlander. The "malfunction indicator lamp" has been on
for a couple days. The manual says "If the fuel tank is not empty or
the fuel tank cap is not loose, there is a problem somewhere in the
engine, emission control system, automatic transmission electrical
system, or warning light system itself. Contact your dealer to service
Sure hate going to the dealer if I don't have to, and haven't seen any
problems other than the light being on. Just wondering whether this is
really something to worry about...
Hospitality is making people feel at home when you wish they were.
Unless you have someone read the fault codes, there is no way you can
determine how serious it may be. A loose gas cap will turn on the
light, so will a failing O2 sensor. As long as the light is not
flashing, you have some leeway (a flashing MIL indicates a problem
that needs immediate attention to prevent damage to another part of
the system). If the problem was a loose gas cap, the light will go
off after a few drive cycles. If it is a more serious problem it will
stay on. Some discount auto parts stores will read the fault codes for
free (AutoZone in my area is one). You could have them read the code
for you and then come back for more advice.
You've only given half the text. There's more.
The text half you've given tells the location of the device that is
supposedly bad. The text half that's missing says what's wrong with it.
You need to give the alphanumeric code. It will be something on the order
of P0141, P0133, that sort of thing. The full text can be determined from
I stopped back at the store and had it read again, it's code P0141.
The guy said this affects the efficiency of the catalytic converter,
but it's not critical. Dunno if I should worry about this or just let
it go for now...
Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt.
It is when we are not sure that we are doubly sure.
Oxygen sensors are fully functional only once they reach a certain
temperature (about 750F).
It used to be that exhaust gas heat was relied upon to heat the sensor up
to its proper temperature. However, under certain conditions it was
possible for the sensor's temperature to fall below optimum if exhaust gas
alone was the heat source. For this reason oxygen sensors were given their
own source of heat.
Oxygen sensor heaters have a wicked job to do and it's common for them to
fail. The only cure is replacement of the entire sensor. After ascertaining
there are no wiring problems, that is...
The cost? I'd guess on the order of $250-$300, plus tax. Don't try to save
money by using aftermarket parts. OEM is more expensive, but will last
Ugh, I figured it might be something like that, but they were already
into me for $100+ for the diagnostics (allegedly to see if it was just
a malfunctioning light), and by that time it was just too much trouble
to take it elsewhere. I have this survey form from Toyota, wonder if
complaining will accomplish anything...
In 1969, I published a small book on Humility.
It was a pioneering work which has not, to my knowledge, been superseded.
$200 converts to just under two hours labor at the usual dealer shop rate.
Have you asked (nicely, because you're trying to get a question answered,
not lynch somebody) what exactly took them two hours and why two hours were
Asked the dealer about this, here's their response:
I looked into the repair - $100 of the labor charge was for the
diagnosis to find the failed O2 sensor, and the remaining is for the
replacement and then retesting to ensure that the failed O2 sensor was
the only cause of the check engine light.
The art of conversation is not only to say the right thing
at the right time, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing
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