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Check Engine light



  • deathbyvwdeathbyvw Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 VW Jetta. The Check Engine Light comes and goes. Per the manual, this light monitors the emmissions system. Per the dealer, as long as it's not flashing, everything is OK. Any ideas how to TURN IT OFF! I've made three - $300 trips to the dealership. Everytime the light is off when I get it back.....for about 1-2 weeks!

    Any ideas?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    This was a General Motors dealer???
    Ok,I've calmed down now.Let me kind of summarize how this works(this is getting to be more work then I expected(BIG GRIN))The ECM moniters the systems,whether it be the O2,TPS,or emmissions.The sensors send signals in ohms or voltage to the ECM,it looks at those values and sees if they are with in the range that is specified.If a sensor is out of the range,the light sets.If the sensor comes back into that range,then the light goes back off.Now that we have that out of the way,now comes the mechanic.First,he checks the trouble codes.What's this?The O2 sensor code?Well,lets go and see what the Flowchart or diagnostic tree for this code tells us to do.
    Here is a list of codes that are O2 related.
    P0130 O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P0131 O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P0132 O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P0133 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P0134 O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P0135 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P0136 O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
    P0137 O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
    P0138 O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
    P0139 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
    P0140 O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
    P0141 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 2)
    P0142 O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 3)
    P0143 O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 3)
    P0144 O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 1 Sensor 3)
    P0145 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 1 Sensor 3)
    P0146 O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 1 Sensor 3)
    P0147 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 3)
    P0150 O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
    P0151 O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
    P0152 O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
    P0153 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
    P0154 O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
    P0155 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
    P0156 O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 2)
    P0157 O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 2 Sensor 2)
    P0158 O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 2 Sensor 2)
    P0159 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 2 Sensor 2)
    P0160 O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 2 Sensor 2)
    P0161 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 2)
    P0162 O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 3)
    P0163 O2 Sensor Circuit Low Voltage (Bank 2 Sensor 3)
    P0164 O2 Sensor Circuit High Voltage (Bank 2 Sensor 3)
    P0165 O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 2 Sensor 3)
    P0166 O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected (Bank 2 Sensor 3)
    P0167 O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 2 Sensor 3)
    Now,for each of those codes,is a diagnostic tree or flowchart for testing the circuits to determine what exactly is the cause.Are you paying for this or is it warrantied?If you are footing the bill,go find a good reputable independant shop who can do the diagnostics,cause the dealer you are going to has no clue what they are doing.I hope this gives you and understanding of how it works.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    For a week or two by clearing the codes and sending you on your way.But that isn't fixing it.Somewhere I made a comment about the light,I think it was the post before this one(so many I forget ha ha)Anyway,if it is on,there is a problem,if it is off,there is no problem.But,since your vehicle is a 96,it has the OBD2 diagnostics system and is only accessible from a scanner.Now,is it under warranty?No?Do not go to the dealer,find a good reputable shop,they should be able to access your system and tell you,before they do anything further,what the problem is.Always,tell them you want to know exactly what the problem is before the go any further.If you have a good dealer,it is fine to go there,but if they are a crummy dealer and the warranty is up,there is no need to go there.
  • graybograybo Posts: 8
    I thought the dealer service mgr. was full of
    #!@*. You just confirmed that. I found a good mechanic yesterday, but he doesn't have a scanner. He referred me to someone who did, though. He charges $35 to diagnose the problem, where the dealer charges $65. I really appreciate all your help and time. It's nice to be able to go to a mechanic and at least ask intelligent questions. Also, that is a GM dealer and I am paying for this work. I'll keep you updated.
  • nadavinadavi Posts: 14
    what does code 63 mean in Oldsmobile ninety eight 1988, 3.8 engine?
    what should be done to fix the problem?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    First check the vacuum line going to the EGR valve,then check that the diaphram is working,then you may have to pull the EGR valve and make sure the passage is clear of carbon.
  • graybograybo Posts: 8
    I know you are probably tired of me, but I'm on a mission now. O.K. the scanner read P0161B, H02S heater circuit.
    That is the same O2 sensor that they changed. Now, if you could describe the placement of the O2 sensors, i.e. bank 1 sensor 1, to see if this mechanic is right. The mechanic put it on his lift and showed me the sensors. He said that there is an O2 sensor, bank 1 sensor 1 on the drivers side manifold. Bank 1 sensor 2 was before the first convertor. Bank 2 sensor 1 was before the second convertor and bank 2 sensor 2 was after the second converter. He was honest and said he had never had to replace O2 sensors on a vehicle that had four O2 sensors. The sensor the dealer changed, according to his logic would have been bank 1 sensor 2. The two sensors in the front had different connections than the ones on the back. Who's right? If they changed out a perfectly good sensor, I really want to know. Thanks.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    DTC P0161 HO2S Heater Performance Bank 2 Sensor 2
    Which,if I looked at the diagrams right,should be the very rear O2 sensor.E-mail me and I will send you a flowchart and diagrams for the PO161 trouble code.See if your mechanic has e-mail and I can send him some info.The flowchart and diagrams are about 4 pages,so I will not post them(I hear a sigh of relief from some).I would e-mail them right away,but you don't list an can view my e-mail by clicking on my name.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Further to my statement earlier on, read this -
  • tbunntbunn Posts: 3
    Hi Opatience and anyone else,
    I am new to the site but am nonetheless a very frustrated 2000 GLS Jetta owner. My O2 sensor failed at 300 miles and was "repaired" At 3,700 miles, the light has gone on again. The dealer is telling me to pick up the car, that after having it for a week, there is nothing wrong. He said that there was a "soft-failure" that the computers didn't indicate. Are you familiar with this term? Is there any other issue that I, as a person who is very inexperienced with cars, can do to check out the problem? Thanks, Jane
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I haven't heard of a (SoftFailure) ,although I have heard of the ECM(Electronic Control Module) storing a code even after the repair was made. What kind of gas are you using in that new 2000 Jetta? Maybe they are experiencing a problem with there O2 sensors and just haven't notifyed customers. Sometimes that's why it's best to wait awhile before buying that just off the assembly line product some bugs still need to be worked out...

  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Did the light come on and stay on?Was it on when you brought it to the dealer?If yes,then it stored a code.If the light went off before you got it to the dealer,then there is a possibilty(slim),that the code cleared.There isn't much you can do,the system on your vehicle requires a scanner.But,everytime you take your vehicle in for a problem and they do not find anything,have them document your complaint on the work order and get a copy.It will provide you with proof,should the problem continue past the warranty period.If you don't feel confident with the dealer you are going to,is there another Jetta dealer in your area?
  • tbunntbunn Posts: 3
    The light did stay on and was on when I took it to the dealer. They claimed it didn't give them a code that Identified the problem, so they reset the system and tried to recreate the problem - to no avail. Would the code remain stored after they re-set the system? I have the car back (no light on) and took your advice to put a complaint on the work order.I appreciate your help. Jane
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    Hopefully after clearing the code the check engine light won't come back on. I don't see how it could't set a code if the check engine light came on!!! Does the car drive any differently when the light first appeared on your dash??? Did they say what kind of code it gave them? Just because it didn't identify there problem dosen't mean a code wasen't stored which can surface later...

    Opatience is right, make sure whenever you have to go in again for another check engine light the problem is noted on the RO##. So you can show it's been an ongoing problem for warranty purposes...

    Hope It Get's Resolved,
    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    if certain conditions are met (engine temperature, rpm, etc.).

    You may see the MIL during a demand situation, but with no DTC stored if the thresholds are not met.

    This may be old news (I'm new here and didn't try to read all 201 posts), but a good site is

    best of luck
  • amtrackalamtrackal Posts: 2
    I have been reading a lot about the following types of problems and have some information on a fix that has taken approximately 10 months for my Buick dealer to find. I have a 94 Buick regal with the 3.8 V6 and after a tune up around 60,000 miles the service engine soon light started to go on intermittently when starting the engine either hot or cold. If the engine was shut off and restarted the light didn't come on for a few day's. Then once in a while the engine would shut down while driving. The fix was to replace the computer circuit board, EPROM chip and the crank sensor. So far every thing has been working ok.
  • hounddog69hounddog69 Posts: 34
    I have a 1994 Nissan King Cab Truck with 180,000 miles. I brought it in for a smog check and it passed. After I left the test station, I noticed the Check Light was on (it wasn't before the smog check). I returned to the testing station and they said they didn't do anything to cause that. I brought my truck to the Nissan dealership and upon inspection, they said a wire had to be re-soldered...for $90. Personally I think the smog guys slipped somewhere.
  • llee45llee45 Posts: 3
    I have a 96 Nissan Altma, the check engine light came on. I took it to my Nissan dealer, they told me it was a casket leaking oil. They would have to order the casket and it would cost $270.00 to repair.
    My husband does not see any oil leaking. The dip stick maintains high level. Any advise?
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Personally hounddog69, I think the smog guys took the wire off to pass the smog check. I wonder if the truck would pass the smog check with the wire on? And $90 to re-solder a wire!! Sheesh. It would be interesting to know what the wire was connected to.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    llee45, I don't see any connection between a gasket leaking oil and the check engine light. Ask the dealer what code has been set by the computer and what that code indicates. That would direct you to the bad component. The only thing that comes to mind could be oil leaking into the exhaust manifold somehow and fouling the 02 sensor. Although I find that hard to visualize.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    He gave you good advice.When you get the codes from the dealer that were set,let us know.we'll try and help you out with what can be the cause.Personally,I wouldn't let them do anything until you are satisfied with knowing what the problem is,and to do that,you need to know what the code means.Also,because a code definition says something(like O2 sensor) doesn't necessarily mean it is the sensor itself.It usually ahs to do with the circuit.
  • llee45llee45 Posts: 3
    As I mentioned I had my 96 altma at my NIssan Dealer, that was May 12th. At that time he charged me $59.00 and gave me a paper stating that is was a gasket leaking. Do they keep the computer codes on file, or will I have to pay another $59.00 to have them put it on the computer to find out the codes?
    Thanks for any advice.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    llee45. If the check engine light is still on the code is in your vehicles computer. The dealer connects a scanner to your vehicles computer and reads out the code which tells him where the problem is. The computer does NOT tell him a gasket is leaking or, for instance, a bearing has gone bad. The computer only monitors and reports back on engine MANAGEMENT systems. If for example, the O2 sensor has gone bad the computer will set a code for that device and bring the check engine light on. That's because the computer cannot manage the air/fuel mixture without the O2 sensor and fuel consumption and driveability will be adversely affected even though you can still drive the vehicle. If I were you I would take the vehicle to an independent mechanic and ask him for his opinion.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    on the invoice.They should have it on the repair order.If they don't,be concerned.
  • butch11butch11 Posts: 153
    This is second hand but I am told a local franchise do everything tire store has a scam that goes like this. You take your car in for tires-they are installing the tires and then come out and tell you-hey the check engine light came on-we need to do a diagnosis. $ 85 later they tell you the plugs needed replacing. $ 60 for the diagnosis and $25 for labor and plugs. They get the check engine light by pulling off one of the plug wires.

    Be careful out there.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    The diagnostic code that you received on a piece of paper was from the "Consult" a scanner that hooks up to your Nissan product. If they didn't clear the code it should still be store in your computer.. Did they say what type of oil leak it was and why it would be causing your check engine light to come on???? You stated that the oil dip-stick was at the proper level so it's not an internal leak....If you can I would like more info..

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • llee45llee45 Posts: 3
    I went to my Nissan Dealer (re: 96 nissan altma)
    they gave me a copy of the computer printout. It says
    PO304, failed part Cyl 4 misfire, Fuel sys MODE4,Cal/LD Value 20%, Coolant temp 183Fm S-Fuel Trim 125%, L-Fuel Trim 109%, Engine Speed 787rpm, Vehicle Speed OMPH
    Self-Diag Results: Failure Detected Time, *No Self Diagnostic Failure Indicated. Further testing may be required.
    I hope this is the information you were referring to. As always any advice is appreciated.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    An oil leak is NOT cuasing the check engine light to come on,not with that code.Here is some diagnostic info on the code,P0304 Click on the link and it will take you to it.From reading the info you have given,my first guess(notice the word guess)would be the #4 plug wire or maybe a cracked dist cap.Hard to tell without checking some things.
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    There might be two coolant temperature sensors on your Ford. I had an Aerostar with the 3.0L and there were two on it.

    best of luck
  • msfiggymsfiggy Posts: 2
    As an update to my inquiry, #218, found out the O2 sensor in the rear (there are 2, one for front and one for rear)went bad. The part cost $100 at dealership. Labor $69/hr. Had the one part replaced, although serviceman tried to convince me to replace both at the same time. All's well. FYI.
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