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Traction Control And Engine Light On


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My traction control light and check engine lights were on. The dealer diagnosed code PO446. I need a charcoal canister. What does that have to do with the traction control? Estimated price is $500. The 2001 ES300 has been great and I now have 105,000 miles. Has anyone had this problem?

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I don't know if it is the same way on your car, but the "traction control" and "check engine" lights always came on together on my previous 92 LS400. None of the problems I had were ever actually with the traction control system- as soon as I solved the emission control/check engine problem, both lights would always go off. I suspect they are programmed to come on together for a reason I don't know.

I helped a neighbor troubleshoot a similar problem on her 2001 Toyota Highlander (same engine as your ES300) a couple years ago. Her car's computer system also gave a code that indicated a problem with the charcoal canister, although I can't remember if it was the same one as yours. I thought this sounded odd on a car with only 80,000 miles, but went ahead and tried to find out what I could about that part.

I was about to tell her just to take the car in when she said she forgot to tell me she had changed the air filter herself just the day before. I figured there was a strong possibility these two events could be related- so I took a closer look at the air filter/intake area. Sure enough, I found a small vacuum line on the bottom that was disconnected- I am sure accidentally when she was changing the filter. I reconnected it, the light went off, and the car is still running fine today.

Did your Lexus dealership do a full diagnostic procedure on your car, or just hook up their computer and pull the code? I don't know for sure, but I certainly don't hear of people replacing their charcoal canister much and I have never changed one myself. My 92 LS was still on its original one and working fine at nearly 200,000 miles at the time I sold it.

I don't know where all of them are located on the ES300, but it would probably be worth checking to make sure all your car's vacuum lines are still connected and in good condition, particularly in the air filter/intake area. It could be a simple fix.

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I don't know if it is the same way on your car, but the "traction control" and "check engine" lights always came on together on my previous 92 LS400. None of the problems I had were ever actually with the traction control system- as soon as I solved the emission control/check engine problem, both lights would always go off. I suspect they are programmed to come on together for a reason I don't know.

I helped a neighbor troubleshoot a similar problem on her 2001 Toyota Highlander (same engine as your ES300) a couple years ago. Her car's computer system also gave a code that indicated a problem with the charcoal canister, although I can't remember if it was the same one as yours. I thought this sounded odd on a car with only 80,000 miles, but went ahead and tried to find out what I could about that part.

I was about to tell her just to take the car in when she said she forgot to tell me she had changed the air filter herself just the day before. I figured there was a strong possibility these two events could be related- so I took a closer look at the air filter/intake area. Sure enough, I found a small vacuum line on the bottom that was disconnected- I am sure accidentally when she was changing the filter. I reconnected it, the light went off, and the car is still running fine today.

Did your Lexus dealership do a full diagnostic procedure on your car, or just hook up their computer and pull the code? I don't know for sure, but I certainly don't hear of people replacing their charcoal canister much and I have never changed one myself. My 92 LS was still on its original one and working fine at nearly 200,000 miles at the time I sold it.

I don't know where all of them are located on the ES300, but it would probably be worth checking to make sure all your car's vacuum lines are still connected and in good condition, particularly in the air filter/intake area. It could be a simple fix.

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Thanks for your quick reply. I will use these notes when I visit my "second opinion" mechanic.

Nothing has been done to the car since the last oil checkup when a new battery was installed, but

who knows what could have been disturbed when that was changed. I do value my traction control especially in all the bad PA weather.

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Thanks for your quick reply. I will use these notes when I visit my "second opinion" mechanic.

Nothing has been done to the car since the last oil checkup when a new battery was installed, but

who knows what could have been disturbed when that was changed. I do value my traction control especially in all the bad PA weather.

Your confusion is understandable and at first blush, one does not seem to be related to the other. The best place to start is to reframe your thinking about cars. Todays cars are more akin to a computer with some spark plugs, pistons, and tires attached. A "Check Engine" light on a Lexus can simply mean you forgot to tighten the gas cap when you last filled up. The combination of the check engine & traction control signal a different column of problems that can be checked off when the computer code are "Pulled" (downloaded),by the technician. If ONLY the traction control light had come on it would have meant a problem with that feature.

The charcoal canister is not that uncommon an item to be replaced. But, the key is to use a well trained, reputable technician who knows Lexus or Toyota's well and understands the codes when they read them. Not just the friendly mechanic who can change your oil.

Hope all works out well for you.

Paul

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Thanks for your quick reply. I will use these notes when I visit my "second opinion" mechanic.

Nothing has been done to the car since the last oil checkup when a new battery was installed, but

who knows what could have been disturbed when that was changed. I do value my traction control especially in all the bad PA weather.

If you have your oil changes done at one of those franchised quick-lube type places, I sure wouldn't be surprised at all if something got "disturbed" and it ends up being an easy fix. My friend takes his 94 LS to a place like that for oil changes and has told me many stories about parts on his car like the air intake, battery terminal and radiator cap being broken after a "courtesy inspection" was performed by an inexperienced tech who didn't know the car and how to disassemble the components properly.

I still can't understand why my friend keeps going back, other than the fact they have always covered the cost of repairing damage done to his car. I would certainly agree with Paul that using a mechanic who specializes in Toyota/Lexus vehicles can frequently save you a lot of time, frustration and money.

Please keep us updated and let us know how it works out. :)

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