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Pontiac Vibe Engine Questions

24

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    tacomamttacomamt Member Posts: 4
    Greetings, I just purchased a used Vibe (03) and am having the disappearing oil issue. I've seen an older threat about vibe's with the same issue, but no new traffic. Anyone having this problem? No leaks, no smoke, no oil at changing time. Help!
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Well, I know now that it is NOT leaking into the coolant. My odd coolant color is the result of the original Toyota Pink mixing with the replacement green antifreeze. It definitely is not leaking externally. My oil loss continues despite using a high mileage oil with conditioners. The oil must be going around the seals and burning in the chamber, despite no visible smoke. It will be interesting to see if the car passes emissions in the spring. Sorry I don't have any firm answer for you. The car continues to (mechanically) operate smoothly otherwise (except for the lousy paint, dash lights, upholstery....I can go on for hours)
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    tacomamttacomamt Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for responding. Yeah, major bummer. Have you pulled the plugs to see if there is oil in them? I just changed mine when I bought it, and didn't think to check that. I'm going to pull them at the end of this 3K miles to see what they look like. I'm also measuring the oil level every 500 miles to see what the burn rate is. Otherwise, operation is same as yours, smooth, good mileage, etc. Have you gotten responses from other with the same problem, or are we the lucky few? Have you talked to the Pontiac dealership? I'm going to call them today. Thanks again, g
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Graham: I feel that this is the worst car ever built at NUMMI, so I don't have any high expectations for this Vibe. I'll dump the car the moment something major crops up. The loss of oil, and adding some in between the 6k oil changes, is not a big deal for this piece of junk. I'm not having any hard starts, so I doubt the plugs are fouled badly.
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    answers1answers1 Member Posts: 1
    If I know that engine it has a turbo right? If it does check the air cleaner. If that's dirty then suction will build up in your engine and it will suck the oil right pass the rings.
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    vibestervibester Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 06 GT. 40K and I have noticed that if I am on the freeway and stick it in neutral when I am entering an off-ramp, the vehicle will stall. It will occasionally do this at lower speeds when it is put in neutral.
    Any answers?
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    watermajwatermaj Member Posts: 1
    The standard Vibe engine is derived from a Corolla/Prizm engine that Toyota has been building in different variations since 1998. It is a 1ZZ-FE, or similar.

    This engine has rings that are very thin. Because of that, if there is any carbon build up, the rings will cease up in the pistons, allowing oil to blow by continuously.

    My kids drive a couple of these, (one with almost 200K miles on it), and we've been putting oil into them religiously.

    Certain oil additives are supposed to help free up the stuck rings, but if an engine has had this problem for a while, the rings may never reseat completely.

    This is the exact same engine that Toyota uses for the Matrix and Corolla's, so don't blame the problem on GM. I have put a Corolla engine into a Prizm- it is part for part identical.

    I can't remember the exact additive that folks are using but check the Corolla sites. You may have to special order it. and it may take a few thousand miles to make a difference.

    I have found that using the high mileage oils cuts oil consumption roughly in half.

    Jim
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Thanks watermaj. As an owner of Corollas as well, I was not aware of this fact about the rings. My Vibe is burning oil like crazy. I am using the high mileage oil in hopes of stemming the problem. My biggest concern is whether I will pass emissions this spring?/
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    nikanacnikanac Member Posts: 4
    Hi,

    I own a 2006 Pontiac Vibe. I take extremly good care of my car and recently had a collison with a 100 lbs deer, doing about 40 mph. I hit the deer in the very front head on. My air bags failed to deploy. After shutting my car off and then starting it the check engine light popped in. So when I drove my car home and then to the collison repair place it was determined that my computer fried. Now my insurance is trying to tell me that the computer frying is not accident related. Can they do that?
    We check recalls and the manufacturer and there were no "known" problem areas with the Pontiac Vibes. I still owe a good 15k on my vibe.

    Has anyone experienced then or does anyone have any advice?

    Waiting tranportationless

    kmachleitlaborready.com
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    jstant1jstant1 Member Posts: 14
    Hello:

    My 2005 Vibe has been exhibiting crazy idle patterns this winter. The problem occurs only when it's cold outside (freezing or below) and the engine is completely cold (first start of the day). The car starts fine, and of course idles pretty high as all Vibes do (usually around 1700 RPM or so. Everything is fine if I don't pull out and drive until the engine is fully warmed up.

    However, if I let the car run for a minute or two, and then pull out, the idle kicks up above 2000RPM when I push in the clutch and if I come to a stop at an intersection it will idle up and down between 1500 and 2500 RPM quickly and repeatedly. If I don't move again quickly, it will usually kick up to an even higher idle around 2100RPM.

    I have a stick shift, and the crazy idle is most evident when I push in the clutch to come to a stop at an intersection. Once the engine is fully warmed up, the idle returns to normal, although I have noticed that it still seems a bit more erratic then it did when the weather is warm.

    I have no check engine light indicating the computer has registered a problem, but it seems obvious that there must be some sort of problem with the PCM or some other component related to regulating the idle.

    Any ideas? I hate the thought of taking it to the dealership without having an idea of what it might be. I'm sure they'll have a difficult time recreating the problem unless I leave it sitting there overnight and then force the technician to ride with me when I start it up cold.

    Would a PCM reflash fix the problem, or is there something else that regulates cold weather starts that could be malfunctioning? Car runs great otherwise. I have noticed the exhaust smells "rich" (i.e. somewhat of a gas odor) when the car is exhibiting the strange idle characteristics. My gas mileage hasn't declined much though - other than what is typical because of cold temps.

    Appreciate any advice or insight.
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    cmhj2000cmhj2000 Member Posts: 381
    You could have any number of possibilities and without any codes, from this vantage point I'd be guessing.

    Have seen dirty MAF sensors do similar things like you described.

    Also you don't mention mileage, air filter condition etc.

    Have seen this on other Vibes in the shop and on my 05 W/Auto. GM seems to look the other way. Doesn't mean you don't have a problem.

    Make sure the MAF is clean before jumping to all sorts of conclusions and guessing.
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    jstant1jstant1 Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the insight. My Vibe has about 65,000 miles - mostly highway. I have a 70-mile daily work commute.

    I replaced the air filter a couple months ago, so that should still be good.

    Where is the MAF, and how do I clean it? I'm not a mechanic-type, so if it's something I need to have done in a shop, please let me know. I'd like to try that before I try the dealership.

    My PCM was replaced under warranty at about 35,000 miles because I was a victim of the infamous "warm-start" issue where the car would crank fine, but not start for several seconds. It would act sluggish when it did finally start.

    The new PCM seems to have taken care of that problem, but the idle issue has only arisen since it turned cold. The colder the temps (like this morning when it was 5 degrees with a 25 below zero windchill) the worse the problem.

    Anyhow, if cleaning the MAF sensor is relatively simple, I would appreciate instructions on how to do it. Thanks!
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    jstant1jstant1 Member Posts: 14
    About the codes - does the computer register codes even if the check engine light does not come on? It seems to me someone told me once that happens sometimes, but it's rare. I have had no check engine light since this problem started.
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    cmhj2000cmhj2000 Member Posts: 381
    If you're know nothing about these systems then I'd suggest to take it to a pro. I see too many people get in trouble by trying things they shouldn't.

    Here's where it's located however. http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/2683/mafstockintake7kd.jpg
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    jstant1jstant1 Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the photo. I agree, I'm not going to mess with anything that I'm not confident about. I can at least suggest checking the MAF to the mechanic, and it's helpful to know where it is so I don't sound like a dork when I do so. :-) Thanks again for the photo - we'll see what happens!
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    joesmith2joesmith2 Member Posts: 26
    Is the 1.8 L engine a good engine?
    Thanks :D
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    motwnbromotwnbro Member Posts: 6
    hello... my 03 vibe started making a whizzing sound ...most notable on start up....my machanic says it's a cracked fly wheel....any body got any feed back for me.....thank you
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    NEVER-ever discount that it could be a heat shield resonating. There are so many of the stupid things that they end up partially falling off and causing all kinds of noise. I had half the stupid things ripped off of my Corolla many years ago just to drive in some peace and quiet.
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    motwnbromotwnbro Member Posts: 6
    this sound seems to come from in side of something....not just a loose piece of tin.....the mechanics i usually go to are good ones and i do trust them.....but the $1100 bill ....made me balk at just saying go ahead fix it.....so i took it to a dealer for a second opinion....haven't heard back yet....i'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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    motwnbromotwnbro Member Posts: 6
    i got word from the dealer and they said the noise was just ware and tear.....no charge.....but i think that they missed it ....when the car is in park there is no noise comming out of the engine, but when the car is in drive with foot on brake there is a scraping noise but not clattery..... i stopped at my oil change place and asked them to look under the car for loose metal shieldings....found none....but they were in agreement that the sound was eminating from the engine....which means that my original diagnosis from my mechanic was right.....cracked flex plate?.... well i will never know what was really wrong with it, for i traded it in on an 08 vibe..wish me luck.......i got 5 1/2 years and 10,000 miles with no problems with my 03 vibe
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    sullidjsullidj Member Posts: 3
    I understand that the oil filter for 1.8 engine is of a new design (paper cartridge inside a permanent canister). None of the Pontiac dealers in my local area have it. Does the 09 Matrix have the same filter and is it warranty valid for the Vibe???
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    markwizmarkwiz Member Posts: 4
    My 2004 Vibe has 65K Miles. I started to notice a knocking that almost sounding like marbles rattling around. I checked all the heat shields. Nothing. I even did the old Yardstick to the ear and placing it on the alternator, AC, etc... no luck. I have a fear it may be a bearing for the cylinder. The car runs great. Burns no oil. I have been running synthetic oil changing it regularly every 5K. I do mostly highway driving. Is there any service bulletins out for this? Only 65k on a corolla engine is just breaking it in. My 10 year old corolla has 125K and never had the engine touched. My guess is a bad bearing did caught by Toyota quality control.
    Thanks
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    motwnbromotwnbro Member Posts: 6
    i posted my vibe problem on the car talk forum.

    the resonsponse i got was; a broken flex plate (auto trans) will sound like stones rattling around in a tin can. it did. :(
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    beater1beater1 Member Posts: 5
    I've been getting a check engine light for o2 sensor. I read on the web of a
    method to reset the check engine light without disconnecting the battery. Tried
    it, it didn't work. You were to turn off the engine, depress the mileage reset button with the odometer mode in view, turn the ignition on and count to ten. Anybody
    got a method for resetting without buying a code-reader or going to a shop?
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    lauraw03lauraw03 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 pontiac vibe that is burning oil, their is no noise under motor and it is not a constant burning, can someone please help me out. I t started out blue smoke when I started the vibe, now it's white smoke, please help
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    oil is getting around the engine seals and burning in the combustion chamber. For my 2003, I'm losing oil, yet have no external leak and have no smoke. In fact, I just passed the emissions test with flying colors. Sorry about your smoke problem laura. Shop around for a price on getting the seals replaced.
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    beater1beater1 Member Posts: 5
    I have a check engine light displaying. My mechanic scanned it and said the computer indicated a defective 02 sensor. He recommended replacing the 02 sensor ahead of the catalytic converter. I had him do it today and after paying 300, I took it for a test drive and after about 25 miles of interstate driving, the
    check engine light came on again. I'm taking it in tommorrow for another scan.
    Does anybody have any experience with 02 sensor failures? Is this a catch-all
    message which can refer to a number of possible problems? I'm not eager to
    start an expensive trial-and-error process of elimination if we can get directly
    to the problem. Maybe I should go to a dealer instead of an independent mechanic.
    Anybody got any suggestions?
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    yep, this corolla engine has had issues with oxygen sensors. I believe there are several of these sensors on the vehicle. The VERY FIRST thing you should check is to see if your gas cap is screwed in tightly. A loose cap with throw the same code. Simply screwing it on tightly will cause the engine light to go out after about 5 cycles of the engine (on/off). But most importantly, don't sweat check engine lights. If your engine does not immediatly start to studder or smoke, it likely is an oxygen sensor or a false alarm. Unless you are under the gun for getting your car inspected, don't go crazy over the light coming on. Check to see that you have oil in the crankcase, and if none of the symptoms are occuring with the car, take a deep breath and try to ignore the light (or do as I have done, put some tape over it to make it go away).
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    beater1beater1 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for responding. I went back to the mechanic today and he scanned the
    engine and got the same o2 sensor diagnostic that led to the $300 repair. He
    didn't really have any idea what to do next. I'm going to try a long shot and use
    fuel injector cleaner in my next tankful using regular gas instead of ethanol
    but I don't have any real expectations of success. I was only trying to fix it because
    I was going to give it to my grandaughter who lives in a state that has inspections
    and I didn't want her to get stuck with the bill. The tape fix is what I'll do if I keep it.
    I'd like to see that the Pontiac dealer that sold it to me gets it back.
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    For my 03 vibe, it was the vapor recovery cannister which is located next to the gas tank, accessible from under the rear seats. Once they replace it, the problem never returned. It is interesting that on the new 09 Matrix and Vibe, there is a index card attached to the shifter stating that you will likely hear a mechanical sound for the first few hours after you have shut off the engine, and that there is some kind of vapor recovery devise that is engaged during that time. Very odd.
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    beater1beater1 Member Posts: 5
    Nothing seems odd anymore where my Vibe is concerned. BTW, I didn't mention
    that the code that came up when the scanner did it's thing was PO420 which refers
    to the "Cataylst System Efficiency Below Threshold". Most of the time, the problem is an O2 Sensor supposedly but it could be the catalytic converter which
    is covered by an 8 yr- 80K mile warranty. I'd have to take it to the dealer, pay for
    the scan again, and hope they found the converter to be the problem and not
    some other educated guess that costs me money. Maybe I should just buy a
    lottery ticket.
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    beater1beater1 Member Posts: 5
    Just to close the loop on the saga of the engine light that wouldn't die. I decided
    to bite the bullet and take it to the Pontiac dealer. I expected to spend $100-$125
    for the diagnostic test but decided I'd wait and see what they found before spending
    any more for parts. Much to my surprise, they declared the problem to be a
    defective PCM (Power Control Module ie. "on-board computer") It was covered
    under warranty and when the new PCM was installed, the check engine light went
    out and stayed out. Apparantly emission parts are covered by an 8yr-80,000 mile
    warranty. I took the car out on the interstate and drove 110 miles and no light!
    Usually I'd get the light on before I had driven 30 miles. Hope my experience may
    be of help to others with a similar problem.
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    papoupapou Member Posts: 2
    I too had a problem with my airbags on my Vibe 2004. I am the original owner of my car and had my first car accident on Monday, August 19. We were going 40 mph when we hit a car, very front head on, and my airbags did not deploy. Yet, the front of my car is badly damaged. I even asked the police officier if this was normal, and with his experience, he confirmed that the airbags should have deployed.

    I called GM yesterday to file a complaint, but I am not sure if this will do anything.
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    pam24pam24 Member Posts: 1
    My Vibe has the same problem. Did you ever find out what was wrong with yours/
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    papoupapou Member Posts: 2
    Unfortunately no. I called back GM, and they asked me if my airbags light was on at the moment of the crash, but it wasn't, either before nor after the crash. The guy said that if the light is not on, they do not investigate. I told him the light could be diffective, but he reacted as if it was not possible.

    I currently have $9000 ($CAD) in repairs, and my car was worth $12'500!!! I went to the GM garage, and they agreed with me that the airbags should have deployed, but they refused to help me in my complaint. I do not know where to turn to anymore. I am considering contacting a News Reporter... to see if he can move things. Big companies usually do not like bad publicity.
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    lethal_79lethal_79 Member Posts: 3
    I have had my new vibe for about 2 weeks, and the idle speed seems a little too high when i start her up in the morning, it's around1500. It actually fluctuates a little between 1300 and 1600. Is that normal. Shouldn't it be around 800 for a manual car. I even found a youtube video on a vibe idling at 2000ish rpm. Has anbody had simliar experience? Should I get the idle speed control valve checked?
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    med8921med8921 Member Posts: 1
    The low fuel light cam on ant then withing a few miles the engine quit(according th the wife). When I arrived Iput 5 gals of gas in it. Still would not start. Pulled off 1 coil and didn't see any spark. Pulled off #2 and spark - and engine actually started on 3 cyls. Put coil back on and engine started but would only run for 10 seconds.
    When I started it the 4th time, I tried giving it some throttle and was if the throttle was not connected. Ended up towing to Pontiac stealer. They tell me now low compression in 2 cylinders although it was running perfectly before it quit and it may have a timing chain issue (bs). The car uses no oil and is supremly kept up.
    I can't find any issue relating to this as its pretty bullet proof. I believe it to be a sensor, ignition or fuel pump issue. Any answers?
    -Mark
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    loosenutloosenut Member Posts: 165
    sounds like they are giving you "the song and dance"..a motor that's been running fine-quits..suddeny,#2 is low on compression?..call the area service rep,and have them then show you BOTH,-while both you and the service rep are watching-,..
    unless it ran low on oil,or some other catastropic failure happened,you're being fed a large steaming plate-of bull ! ! personally,i understand when they don't know for shure-untill they check a few things out,but i detest being LIED to..
    watch these people like a hawk!!
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    dluxedluxe Member Posts: 2
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    dluxedluxe Member Posts: 2
    How do you move the tensioner pulley down to get belt on?
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    wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    Back in 1998 the Fremont, CA GM plant was producing the Geo Prizm 1.6L, and I bought one. My next Fremont car was a brand new 2009 Vibe AWD with the 2.4L Toyota engine that I bought about ten months ago. These Toyota-based cars were purchased from two different GM dealers with over some eleven years between them. I am sorry to say that in both cases the selling GM dealerships overfilled the crankcases by not less than a full quart at the first oil change. I never used the dealer again for an oil change on the Geo, and I now plan to never again use the latest dealer for an oil change on the Vibe. Is it asking too much to expect GM dealerships to not make this mistake? I wonder how many people do NOT check the oil level shortly after leaving the dealership on the first oil and filter change, and how many never check it themselves at all. I suspect there is at least some degree of potential for engine damage due to meaningful overfilling. Now just how much is a meaningful amount in this sense, I do not know.
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    word to the wise: NEVER get your car serviced at the dealer. They don't hire the best or the brightest. Establish a relationship with a local mechanic. Surely either by word of mouth or by some big city survey, you can find a mechanic for life. They care about your car because they care about their business. Dealerships do not.
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    wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    In both cases, I was collecting my freebie first oil and filter change. Other than that, I almost always do my own oil and filter changes, having lost faith long ago in doing otherwise! As you can tell, I do check on the work when I do not do it myself.
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    me too. I am a bit disappointed that I have to deal with a canister on the '09 Corolla Vibe, but I guess I'll get used to it. I now have two NUMMI Corolla Vibes in my driveway and don't give a hoot whether GM goes out of business. I know I can always go to the Toyota dealer and get parts should I need. Hope you enjoy yours wtd44!!
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    wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    Many thanks! And to you, I hope the same success and happiness with your Vibes. I agree with you on the idea that should Pontiac go away, or even all of GM (unlikely!) we can use the Toyota dealer. In my local case, I am not attracted to the nearby Toy dealer.
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    fordtruckloverfordtrucklover Member Posts: 8
    There is a bolt pattern in front of the hydraulic cylinder that keeps tension on the belt, that can be pulled up with a open end wrench or socket, i just had this done with my mechanic at work, never had a hydraulic tensioner before, so i also needed help.
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    normhnormh Member Posts: 30
    I'm a new owner and saw a post on the reviews page about valve noise when the car is started. I have notice this same noise and was wondering if using the Toyota filter (with the check valve in it) would reduce this noise? Anyone have a similar problem/fix?
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    manny5manny5 Member Posts: 16
    I am a new owner of a 2009 Vibe GT Automatic. This car was assembled in August 2008, and has been sitting in the dealers' lot since September 2008. Since this car has been sitting idle for 10 months, do I need to change oil although it has only 400 miles? Thanks in advance for any insight.
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    maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Assuming you don't mind crawling under your car and 15 minutes worth of work: $6 for a screw on filter (for the Camry engine) and $12 for the dinosaur oil at Walmart and you're done. It is worth the peace of mind.
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    manny5manny5 Member Posts: 16
    Thanks maxx4me. Good advise, I agree.
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