Tuesday 12 July 2011

Car Issues Update

I had the Air/Fuel sensors replaced back in May, and my fuel economy has much improved. I’m actually getting what the manual says I should be, so it’s certainly costing me a bit less in petrol. Although with the prices so ridiculously high in the city of London, it still hits me in the wallet… just not as often.

I have just changed insurance companies, as of yesterday.

I was paying State Farm $369 a month for auto and home insurance. When I first signed up for insurance with State Farm I have a feeling they ignored my previous 13 years driving in the UK and just went by the date I got my UK licence exchanged for an Ontario one. So after a little over a year, a couple of weeks ago I decided to start looking around for a better deal.

By using the date I actually got my licence back in the UK, I got much better quotes, and a couple of companies contacted me to get more details.

I eventually chose The Co-operators as the company I would take my business to. They offered me auto, home and life insurance for only $185 a month. This is 50% of what I was paying!

I am looking forward to having an extra $185 in my pocket every month. I could fill my tank 3 times over with it!

Tuesday 03 May 2011

Air/Fuel Ratio Sensors

Took the Lexus to a mechanic last month, and he discovered both AF Sensors are burned out. He wanted to charge me $289+tax for just 1, I bought 2 on eBay for only $264 (for both). What a bargain. Just waiting for them to arrive in the post now.

I can’t wait to get my car back, and stop driving the minivan.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Replaced MAF, Still Problems

I went to an Auto Wreckers today and picked up a used Mass Air Flow sensor for $50. Used the MAF cleaner to clean it up as it was pretty filthy, and left it to dry for an hour. Then I swapped out the one on my car.

Check Engine Light came on after around 2 hours of driving.

So it seems, the MAF sensor wasn’t the problem after all.

I have ordered an OBD-II reader that plugs into my PC so I can diagnose the problem myself. Since error codes for the Air/Fuel Ratio sensors were coming up before, I’m guessing either 1 or both of those is dodgy. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell which once I have the reader and I can see some of the data the car’s computer is producing.

Cars, they cost a fortune to run!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

New Boots

I bought 4 new tyres for my Lexus yesterday. They are Uniroyal Laredo Cross Country. I had been looking for Firestone Destination LE’s but no one had any in stock and these were recommended instead. There was also a $40 discount for buying a full set at the place I went to.

Ended up paying $649.00 for the tyres and installation.

I’ve only driven about 10kms on them so far but the ride is already so much smoother and the car feels more in control as it’s gripping the road more securely.

Certainly a good start.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Feeling Tyred

I changed out the air filter as the old one was absolutely clogged with dirt, leaves and who knows what else. So far there’s been no CEL, and I think performance is better again. Really hoping I don’t have to replace any sensors after all.

I do have another major problem now though.

I need FOUR new tyres. Immediately.

The rear passenger tyre is worn down to the cords and is a blow-out risk. The rear driver tyre is not far behind it. Both front tyres are worn down to the tread wear indicator. My car is All Wheel Drive which means you can’t just replace 2 tyres now and 2 later.

So far the cheapest I’ve found is $620. Way more than I can afford right now.

I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do, we need to use the car every day as my wife has to get to work somehow.


Thursday 06 January 2011

Engine Troubles Part 2

Well my Check Engine Light came back on this morning and performance dropped again. We’re back to where we were before I attempted cleaning the MAF sensor.

I spoke to a mechanic and he says it’s possible the MAF sensor is damaged/broken so it might need replacing, but there’s also the possibility my catalytic converter is being ruined by the air/fuel ratios being screwed up. This is not good news. I am looking into a replacement MAF sensor at a few auto wreckers around the city as a second-hand one will be cheaper than new.

It’s entirely possible that it isn’t even the MAF sensor that’s causing the issue, it might be an O2 sensor which are even more expensive to replace.


Wednesday 05 January 2011

Engine Troubles

For a little while now the Check Engine Light (CEL) has been coming on in my car. It’s sometimes just gone away but it always came back. Only very recently has there been any performance issues, however, which is why I hadn’t done anything sooner. I noticed just before Christmas that acceleration sometimes felt sluggish, the car felt juddery around 40km/h and my gas mileage was suddenly terrible.

I took it to a mechanic to have the OBD-II codes read as I don’t have a reader of my own. It came back with P0171, P1130 and P1150.

The definition of those codes are:

P0171 System too Lean (Bank 1)

P1130 Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor Circuit Range/Performance Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 1)

P1150 Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor Circuit Range/Performance Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 1)

After doing a little research I discovered that P0171 is usually caused by a dirty or faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor, and sometimes it can cause follow-on codes. This meant that it was possible that P1130 and P1150 are only being tripped after P0171 and aren’t actual faults.

I decided cleaning the MAF sensor is the next (and simplest) course of action, and looked up how you go about that. I went to NAPA Auto Parts to buy a can of CRC SensorKleen which is a dedicated MAF sensor cleaner, and checked a few videos on YouTube.

I carefully removed the wiring loom, and the two screws holding the MAF sensor in place. A gentle twist and a tug pulled it free. I sprayed the sensor wires liberally with SensorKleen until I was satisfied I had removed all and any grime from it. Once it was totally dry I reinstalled the sensor into the engine. I had found in a forum that pulling the EFI fuse will reset the CEL so I did that.

I started the engine and indeed the CEL wasn’t on, I listened to the car idle and it certainly sounded better than before. I took the car around the block and I didn’t notice any of the previous problems. It accelerated cleanly and didn’t judder around 40km/h.

I am hoping the CEL does not come back on, or it means there is something more serious wrong with my car and I’ll need a professional to diagnose it. At least I saved around $60 by cleaning the MAF sensor myself, and cutting that out of the equation.

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