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Check Wallet Light

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The Check Wallet Light ("Check Engine Light") went off yesterday along with the "VSC" light. Took the car into a local dealer. The estimate was $800 to replace the fueling tube and the gas cap. After checking all TSB's and equipping myself with a little expertise, I asked to see the problem with the fueling tube (supposed rust) and the gas cap. After tightening the gas cap (a wee bit more than one click) all error lights disappeared. The dealer had no explanation for why they were about to charge me $800 for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with literally NO EVIDENCE that the fueling tube or gas cap were the problem. It could have taken them 2 minutes to tighten down my gas cap or try a new one to realize that the pressure sensor within the fuel system is incredibly sensitive.

The Check Engine Light can display when there is a real problem but I suggest being incredibly diligent and curious should the dealer suggest ANY MAJOR REPAIRS. The service manager did not like the fact that I accessed the Technical Service Bulletin database (hey, free WIFI is free WIFI) and was even more disturbed that I immediately suggested at least three other easy fixes, none of which they explored, the easiest being tightening down the gas cap.

Now, I'm not suggesting corrupt dealer business practices here, but do the math. Approximately 150 million autos on the road in the U.S., 1/3 of these newer models with "Check Engine Lights." An average of $50 for a quick dealer reset times 50 million vehicles per year and that's $2.5 Billion a year in service income (not to mention unscrupulous dealers fixing things that are NOT broken).

Be careful out there. Even Lexus dealers can be dishonest.

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