Virginia Auto Service

Bumper to Bumper Radio – Check Engine Light Codes


This is the Bumper to Bumper Radio podcast from May 9, 2015.  Today Matt and Dave are talking about check engine light codes and check engine light diagnosis and when to replace the timing belt on a 2007 Honda Pilot. 

Announcer: This is Bumper to Bumper, the car show! Drive in anxious and cruise out confident! With the best automotive information for your vehicle and now your hosts, Matt Allen and Dave Riccio!

Dave: Well, Happy Mother’s Day weekend all you mother’s out there. Welcome to Bumper to Bumper Radio, I am Dave Riccio here along with Matt Allen. We are your KTAR car guys, heard here every Saturday from 11-noon. At Bumper to Bumper Radio, we’re helping you, the motoring public, have a better overall better car experience. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers so we encourage you to give us a call at (602) 277-5827, (602) 277-KTAR. You can also text us at 411923. Anything about your car, if you’ve got a write up from a shop, a repair that you’re considering, if your car is making a strange noise and you’re just not sure what it is and which path to go down, anything related to your car, if you’re looking to buy a car and wondering what kind of car is a good car, you can give us a call. Today on the Bumper to Bumper road map we’ve got an email of the week from one of our listeners, of course open phones and texts, and diagnostic. You know, last week we had a call from a gentlemen who said, “I put a this on my car and I put a that on my car, and I put a that on my car and I still have the same problem.” But, a thousand dollars later…

Matt: And I think part of that started with, “I went to the auto parts store and they did the diagnosis.” Which, really is, they plugged in their little generic code reader and it gave them a code. So, that wasn’t really a diagnosis, it’s kind of a test I guess, right? Or is it just reading the computer?

Dave: Yeah, well, any time your car has an issue there’s a very good possibility the computer is going to recognize it and it’s going to set a diagnostic trouble code. That’s a little error message in the computer, so it’s a starting place, it’s not, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a diagnostic. “Hey, we read the error message, we know we have chest paints, do we need, do we got indigestion or do we need open heart surgery?” And they give you a little print out and it says, well, I’ll give you an example, P0740. We need a, possibly a transmission problem, possibly a solenoid problem, possibly a wiring problem and possibly a computer problem. Well, those are four big possibilities that are going to take a lot of work to get to. So, I wouldn’t refer to that so much as a diagnostic but that’s a “hey, we think we got a problem over in this section.” That’s why that little yellow light turned on. So, diagnosis, what is diagnosis? It’s one of those things at the auto shop I don’t think people like paying for.

Matt: Well, they don’t Dave. You know, we talked a little bit about the show of how the diagnostic started. When did we, as shop owners, have to start charging for this thing called diagnosis? I’m kind of a theory people, part of it, probably in the early 80s when shops had to start buying all this big equipment that didn’t fit inside the tool box, now the shop owner has to say, “Gosh, we have to charge for using this expensive equipment.” I think it’s part of that along with the complicated systems and the sense of, you know, maybe community. Everybody used to go down to the corner gas station and Larry the mechanic would open up the hood, start doing the adjusting and call you up and say either “I fixed it” or “it’s going to need this” and you would say okay. And then it was just done, the car was, the solved. But, then people started, cars got more expensive to fix, and maybe people, Larry would go spend all this time and people would go, “well, I don’t want to do that.”

Dave: Well, Larry’s got a bunch of time into it.

Matt: And Larry’s got intellectual knowledge, he’s got the tools, he’s got all this stuff. So, I think maybe the lack of loyalty from consumers spurred on some of this need to diagnose. You go to the shop, it says free diagnosis. Do you really think, you’ve got no relationship with this guy, you just walk up, they’re going to work on your car for free? I mean, does the, you just going to flag some guy down the road and ask him to mow your grass, think he does that for free? No! There’s… sometimes there’s something free. I’ll do free diagnosis at my shop, when I have a good relationship with a regular customer and I know that I can just go in and something was just really quick and easy.

Dave: It’s not even a conversation.

Matt: Yeah, it’s just done and thank you. So, that’s a little bit of it, but people don’t like it. And whether it’s the perception because they think they may be able to get it for free. But you know what free stuff is worth?

Dave: What you paid for it.

Matt: Yeah, not a whole lot, well, at times. I mean, I’ve seen it. Dave, I know you’ve seen it. People, I had a guy come in from the shop around the corner from me. “Oh, they said I need a new transmission.” How much was the, did they charge you for diagnosing it? “No, they wanted a second opinion.” Well our diagnosis was $175, but guess what? They didn’t end up with the $2000 transmission they didn’t need. They had a wiring repair for four hundred bucks.

Dave: Well, it is one of those things where I see consumers trying to save a dime and cost themselves a dollar.

Matt: Tripping over dollars to save dimes.

Dave: Exactly, so you think I’m getting something for free, but it’s going to cost you. It’s frustrating in our business, it’s a frustration, but I think it’s probably just more of a “hey, what the heck are we doing and why am I paying for diagnostics.” So, let’s take the example of the gas cap code that we had, we had talked about emissions last week and they were talking about giving away free gas caps as part of their deal. But, if someone’s got that little emissions light on, you know, it could be the gas cap, but it could be a lot of other things. What are the steps, Matt, that we go through to figure out? What’s the code number on a gas cap code?

Matt: Oh, it’s one of those 400 series codes, but any of them, you have to think about it… You have to do the basics. You’ve got to check the battery on the car, you’ve got to check the charging system. Everything is centered around a good solid foundation of electronics on the car, so that’s basics. You’ve got to test drive the car, you’ve got to verify the problem. You’ve got to pull out a several thousand dollar scan tool or computer to read some data. Maybe test drive it, confirm the problem first, erase the data after you’ve logged it, go drive it again, get it to act up, now you’ve got to pull… and that’s before we’ve even opened the hood or done anything.

Dave: Just to start.

Matt: Now, you’ve got to start, make sure it’s full of oil, make, just, all the basics. And, then we got to dig in, and then we’ve got to start testing. You have to be able to read that information. We’re just not pulling the code. People think, like, you mentioned you go to the auto parts store, that’s not a diagnosis, that’s not what we’re doing. I have a lot of people say to me, “Oh my gosh, $150 just to look at my car!” I’ll pull up a lounge chair and drink a beer and look at it for nothing. I’m not just looking at, I mean, people really try to reduce this thing down to nothing and I think a lot of people have just devalued it.

Dave: Well, it’s one of those things. I know when I buy stuff I minimize and I maximize. So, if I’m selling something it’s the biggest greatest thing in the world. If I’m buying something I’m going to minimize everything you’re selling to me to make it less valuable to use so I can buy it at a cheaper price.

Matt: Yeah.

Dave: It’s human nature.

Matt: And I never thought of it until today. I think, in a lot of cases, the diagnosis or the inspection that you may do, that’s a lot like the service call. You know the drain’s plugged up, the plumber, you don’t need the plumber to tell you when the toilet’s overflowing or the dishwasher doesn’t, or the disposal is blocked up or whatever the case is. Yeah, that’s pretty obvious, yeah, your car is running bad, I know. So, we’ve got to get there. And then when the plumber gets there, “yep, you’re right, it’s backed up.” We’re here, that was the $85 or the $100 dollars. Now the work begins. Rotor rootering.

Dave: I wish, I wish it was as easy as finding a plugged drain. I do wish that, because there’s a whole lot more that goes into it. So, I’m going to go scan the car, I’m going to road test the car, I’m going to visually inspect the car. The next thing I’m going to also do is I’m going to go look at the problem database. So, we can go see, hey, you know, we’ve got all this information from all the technicians around the states looking at this vehicle. And with this symptom these are some of the possibilities. Now, I’ve got to go test each of these possibilities. Like I said, you know, it could be the computer, could be the solenoid, could be the wiring. Well, those are a lot of the could bes. So, now I’ve got to test the wiring, I’ve got to electrically test to see if it’s good. So, there’s a lot that goes into it that I don’t think that people realize and it’s the hardest part of our job. Otherwise it’s all just nuts and bolts, unbolt it bolt it back on, unbolt it, bolt it back on. That’s, that part of the job is easy, it’s figuring out what we need to unbolt.

Matt: Yeah, and then when, when, you know, then people ask when is it appropriate to have a diagnostic testing or that kind of work done. And I’m going to say that that’s something you should expect to have anytime you have a problem. If you go to the shop and you say, “My check engine light is on.” That’s a diagnostic situation. “My car is doing this once in a while.” That’s a diagnostic or a testing situation. I never really thought of an oil leak as a diagnostic. It’s, I mean, I was a drivability technician, and tune-ups and electronics as a tech. I never fixed oil leaks and did brake jobs really.

Dave: He had a full head of hair back then too.

Matt: Yeah, partial, yeah. I started going bald early, Dave. But, my point is that, that it’s still time. You know you take an oil leak for example. Maybe it’s easy to find, maybe it’s not, maybe we have to put some dye in the system. So, that’s not what people would traditionally think as a typically diagnosis using a meter or a scan tool, but you think about that one.

Dave: You’ve got to pull the car in.

Matt: Maybe it just made a little bit of a mess and it’s fairly easy to see, or maybe not. Maybe you’ve got to get a can of cleaner out, and you’ve got to hose the thing off, or pressure wash it, maybe you’ve got to put some dye in it. Once it’s clean now you’ve got to make it leak again, right?

Dave: You’ve got to go drive it.

Matt: Now, you’ve got to go drive it and that’s two or three miles, and you probably had a one or two mile test drive before you even brought the car into the shop. You’ve got to listen for all those rattles and stuff that were never there until you worked on it. You know what I mean? And document that! And so that takes time to do, so, so all these different scenarios are inspections and diagnostics. And there’s value there and if you don’t think you’re paying for it, you’re fooled.

Dave: It’s there somewhere in the price.


Dave: So, when we come back, we’re taking your calls at (602) 277-5827, (602) 277-KTAR. We can also talk about a little bit of Google-nostics or Web MD. That place leaves me more confused about that pain in my elbow. When we come back. You’re listening to Bumper to Bumper Radio.


Dave: Well, welcome back to Bumper to Bumper Radio. I’m Dave Riccio here along with Matt Allen and together we are your KTAR car guys. We’ve got Brandon on the line and then open lines at (602) 277-5827, (602) 277-KTAR. And before the break I mentioned Google-nostics, you know you can type in almost any car symptom or problem or diagnostic trouble code, maybe you got from the auto part shop, and it’ll give you some answers.

Matt: That’s just the guy at the part’s store on steroids. That’s like going and asking a hundred thousand people the same question. You’re going to get all the different feedback.

Dave: Well, I think, I think the hard part is that, we don’t, if we’re not in the business we don’t really know how to read those symptoms. So, I’m reading a symptom and it, gosh, it looks like, just like my problem. And I’ll have someone come in and they’ll bring in their Google-nostics, I call it, and they’ll say, “Hey, I’ve got this Honda Accord and I’ve got this, that, the other and the other problem happening. What do you think? Could we get that fixed?” I said everything you read is on the 2.3 liter and you’ve got the 3 liter, it doesn’t even apply to your car and they go, “Oh.” You know, but that’s the way it can happen.

Matt: Well, but I go to Web MD!

Dave: I’m looking at stuff and I go yeah, I got that, I got that, I got that. But is it indigestion or do I need open heart surgery? So, how to interpret that information is what we learned over the decades of being in this business, how do we go about doing that. So, Google-nostics, to me, is the same to me as Web MD and I don’t think web MD… it is nice to kind of go read up what it might could be, kind of get a feel, you know, before I actually go make that doctor’s appointment, but it’s not the end all.

Matt: Yeah, sometimes, it’s just as, just as confusing. And some things that people might get diagnostic work done on this morning and maybe not. It’s cold, I don’t know when it was this cold last time in May.

Dave: Oh, way cold.

Matt: But I bet there’s a whole lot of check engine lights on this morning for stuck, well what probably is stuck thermostats. The code is going to be like a 128 or something like that.

Dave: Engine cold too long.

Matt: Yeah, not up to operating temperature. And the other one, there is probably a lot of tire pressure warning lights on this morning.

Dave: That was definitely me, I saw it first thing, I’m like, aw man, really.

Matt: And over the years though, a lot of those are just, they’re low on pressure and you can adjust them and fix them. But, now that those systems, Dave, what is it? I think they were mandatory in ‘07. So they’re coming out now, they’re seven, we’re getting on seven years old, this is when batteries are starting to fail inside of the sensors. So, sometimes it’s just a matter of airing up the tire and resetting the system, sometimes not though. The sensor’s not reading, so now we have to decide do we have a bad sensor that’s not putting out or accepting the radio signal. You know, there’s another computer inside the car that’s sending out. The antennae has got to work, the amplifier had got to work and it’s got to have the ability to talk to all four of the sensors on the car.

Dave: That’s a big, that’s a big change. You know, if you think you go back to the 80s, you know we didn’t even have cup, cup holders in cars. Now it’s like standard equipment, you know? No cup holders and now we got to diagnose these things and there’s, there’s now, I don’t know, like twenty computers on the thing. Got to dial up this one, what’s going on over there? What’s going on over there?

Matt: You had to hold your beer between your legs instead of you know…!

Dave: Maybe you!

Matt: Nah, I’m joking! Yeah, so just the way that it’s going. So, you really have to have an open mind when you’re going into the shop and I think the shop that breaks it out for you is actually doing you a better job. They’re just not burying these fees in there and, and really what I think too, the other reason that people do free diagnosis. They know you have something wrong with your car, “I’m going to get you in! It’s free, come on in! Come on in!” It’s the lost liter, it’s the $9 oil change, it’s the free diagnosis. You’re bound to have a problem that you have to fix and if I can get you here I have a chance of getting that job. Because, we have seen just as much with these shops now that used to specialize in transmissions and all they did was brakes, but now guess what? They’re auto service experts, now they know everything! Well, you know, we’ve had some of those. They, after they’ve done the check engine light, remember this testing was free, right? So, did this test, did that test, we put this sensor on, that sensor on, spend $5-600 dollars and say and then they throw in the towel and say, “Gee, you know, we don’t have the equipment necessary. You’re going to have to go to the dealer.” Then that gives all of us guys who can fix the car and who do charge for diagnosis, the dealer doesn’t do it for free either by the way.

Dave: Everybody has got a charge. It’s there, you’re going to pay for it no matter what, you can’t skip out. Hey, I want to get to Brandon in Phoenix on a F350 1996, Brandon you’re on Bumper to Bumper Radio, how can we help you today?

Brandon: Well, how are you guys today?

Matt: Great, thank you.

Dave: Fantastic.

Brandon: Good deal. So, a couple months ago we had a pretty big rain and I was driving up off Carefree Highway and I had no idea how deep the water was across this road. I’ve driven the road hundreds of times. I went through the water, it really really bogged my truck down, I had a bunch of weight in the back of the truck. Excuse me, and after that my transmission started shifting really weird. I took it into a tranny shop, they scanned it. They said that I had an open neutral safety switch, I fixed that. But ever since that day my truck, literally, has not ran right, I mean ever since that day. So, I started, I had it scanned, I started fixing the stuff that was wrong with it on the scanner. I’ve done a throttle positioning sensor, fuel pressure regulator, injectors, battery, O2 sensor, fuel pumps, fuel filter, coil, temperature sending unit, thermostat…

Matt: Now, what was the, what was the, I’m getting sick kind of hearing all these things that you did. I’m starting to feel bad.

Dave: He’s turning green.

Matt: I mean, what was the basis for replacing all that stuff, was it, was it guessing? Or because you thought that’s what it might be?

Brandon: Every, every time I scanned the truck. I have a handheld scanner, it’d OBD 1. And so, every time I scanned it, it would pop up with another code at me. And, so I was like okay, well now it’s not throwing the throttle positioning sensor code, it’s throwing my intake, you know, intake manifold pressure sensor code. So, I replaced that and I kept going forth with that until literally I was out of options. I can’t replace anything else in the truck.

Dave: It’s almost, it’s almost brand new.

Brandon: Yeah. I finally gave up and took it into a shop. Excuse me again, and they had diagnosed that my computer was bad, and so I tracked down a computer. I found a computer finally, because Ford doesn’t make it for my truck, no aftermarket companies make it for my truck. I finally found one that matches my calibration code and everything else, out of Pennsylvania, had it shipped over here. Installed it, ran great for a day, one day, and now I’m back to the same thing. It runs beautiful in the morning, and it’s gas by the way, 460. It runs beautiful in the morning when the temperatures are cool, runs awesome at nighttime, same thing, temperatures are low. And in the middle of the day it just, it bogs down, like I go give it, if I’m sitting at a stop light or something like that, my throttle, or I mean my idle gets real choppy. If I’m just sitting there with my foot on the brake it goes from a nice idle and then all of a sudden it’s got a nasty lope in it like I’ve got a top shield drag car.

Matt: Okay, well I’m hearing a couple different things here. It started after it got wet, so that’s where I’m going to start looking if this is in my shop. What got wet? What could have possibly happened? The other thing here, and I can tell you, this car shows up at my counter. You can’t even leave it unless you’re willing to spend $1000. That doesn’t mean the bill is going to be $1000, but you think about what we’ve got to go through to confirm what we’re telling you is right, you know. And not only that, the other thing I heard is, I got it diagnosed by somebody then I took it and I fixed it. Kind of not the same, let somebody else take ownership of this so that they can own it until it’s fixed and then you’ll probably spend less money and end up with a car with the problem solved sooner.

Dave: Thanks so much for the call. (602) 277-5827, (602) 277-KTAR. You can text us at 411923.


Announcer: This is Bumper to Bumper Radio, KTAR News at 92.3 FM.

Matt: I’m Matt Allen along with Dave Riccio and here we are this morning talking about your car and we started off with diagnostic services, when you need them, maybe when you don’t need them and are free ones a good idea. Probably talked about a lot of people out there with tire pressure monitoring lights on this morning, maybe you’ve got that funky looking little horseshoe, you’re not really sure what it is. Need to get the owner’s manual out and see if it really needs some attention. Anything wrong with your car, you want to give us a call? (602) 277-5827, (602) 277-KTAR. Dave, what do you want to do?

Dave: Well, they can also text us at 411923. We’ve got a text from Shaun, a regular listener, who’s a mail carrier and he wants to mention the food drive that’s going on today. And I know that it’s a big food drive, so you can leave some non-perishable stuff in your mailbox and let him pick it up.

Matt: The mailman will pick it up. You don’t even have to go anywhere! You see how easy they make it.

Dave: Simple! That works out great.

Matt: And we need to be doing that stuff year round, not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas. There are shelters out there and people that need help all the time, so just remember, give, be in the giving spirit year round if you can.

Dave: I’ve also got a text, looks like this person has an Avalon with 90,000 miles on it. They were at their local shop, who said the rack and pinion is leaking and it needed replacement for $1200 bucks and they said they don’t see anything on their garage floor. Might it be safe for a while??? Will it be safe, rack and pinion leak and no leaks on the floor? What’s going on Matt?

Matt: Well, again, those leaks, that is so subjective. I mean, how bad is it leaking? Where is it leaking? Why aren’t you seeing it on the ground? A lot of people don’t park in the same spot. This person sounds like they’re pretty familiar with their garage space. You know, we said on the air before, nobody ever knows where their car, what’s underneath where their car was because they’re never looking at it. Their car is always, they’re always in their car, you know, they’re out of the car when they parked when they park.

Dave: You’re looking behind you when you back out.

Matt: Yeah! So, you do have to take a look and see what is on the ground and we’ve talked about it in shows past. The oil leaks I don’t see. Maybe the bellows boot is all filled up with oil and it just hasn’t dripped to the ground yet. Maybe there’s a little bit of what we might call sweat and you have a shop that is really just eager to do some work because it’s not very busy that day and maybe they’re being a little bit aggressive. So, that’s the beauty of what I like, what we’re doing in our shop, Dave, with digital inspections. We’re taking photographs of this stuff so we can share it with you and quantify or I’m going to bring you out.

Dave: Well, on the leak scale, if you’re a consumer and you’re in a shop and you’ve got a leak, we rate leaks on a scale of 1-5. One being a little dust and a little oil around the seal but nothing’s really leaking, nothing’s happening. A five is like a hurricane, it’s bad news, you know. Get some sort of gage on how bad this is, and not only that, this person’s asking, is it safe for a while? I bet if you asked them and they were a reasonable shop they’d be more than happy to show you where it’s leaking. You can look at it and say okay. It’s going to help you, you say, I might not know what I’m looking at. Don’t use that as an excuse, go look. Get them to show you the car, they’re going to be happy to show it to you and also when you’re going through that process you’re going to get a feel for the guy you’re talking to. Because, we have to, when we’re looking at something we don’t know anything about we’ve got to use our people skills, our human nature skills to figure out what the heck is going on here.

Matt: Our gut.

Dave: And if this guy’s talking to you and maybe he’s a really good snake oil salesman and he’s looking at something and you’re like I don’t see anything there. And he’s like oh, yeah, so unsafe. Well, you’re going to know, hey, I’m not going back there.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, likely if you went in there without a problem and this was something discovered during a regular visit like an oil change. It is likely that is going to be safe for a long, long time. If you’ve never had to add fluid or you didn’t have a symptom related to that issue maybe it’s worth a second opinion if that’s not your regular guy. Or, if it is that regular guy, show and tell is always good.

Dave: And if you’re looking for a shop, We’ve got to get to Jim in Mesa on a 1998 Honda CRV. How can we help you, Jim? You’re on Bumper to Bumper Radio.

Jim: Hello there, how are you today?

Dave: Fantastic.

Jim: Okay, I’ve got a good one for you. Well, it’ll be easy for you guys. 98 Honda CRV, automatic of course, all wheel drive, 350,000 miles on that bad boy. Okay, I threw a key 0505 code because my idle was fluctuating all over the place so I went ahead and spent the money to replace the idle, idle air control valve. Which is a waste of money because that didn’t solve anything, so where do I go from here.

Matt: Well, well, I’m not familiar with what exactly the description of the 505 code is, but I would, I mean, I would go to a shop that has the equipment that can fix your car and diagnose it. Diagnose it, solve the problem. That Honda idler control motor I don’t think is very inexpensive.

Dave: It’s probably, I would venture to say it’s at least a $300 deal.

Matt: Oh, every bit of it. So, again, not knowing the exact description of that code off the top of my head, but if you have a fluctuating idle you could have an oxygen sensor that we call lazy. Instead of making that fuel decision very fast, rich, lean, rich, lean, you know, give me more, give me less, give me more, give me less, it’s doing that slow. Oh, eh, give me some more fuel… eh, turn it down. That could be causing that problem.

Dave: Or a vacuum leak.

Matt: You can have a vacuum leak. You could have just a dirty, clogged up, carboned up throttle body or PCV valve system that is not working well and you didn’t need any parts. 350,000 miles, that’s a lot of miles, you could have a bad throttle position sensor.

Dave: Maybe you should get mom a new CRV for Mother’s Day, it’s getting pretty tired.

Matt: Well, but no, but just again, you’ve got to look at that trouble chart, and again, Dave, you brought it up. I don’t think we talked about it on the air. That diagnostic trouble chart is kind of for a newer car, after something’s got 350,000 miles on it and rattled and shaked and four people have worked on it over the years and…

Dave: All that stuff goes out the window. I mean, it’s still a part, but I mean, it’s just not, there’s more possibilities. 350,000 miles, I would venture to say, ten different technicians have been working on it.

Matt: Yeah, and… uh-oh, brain fart. But what I’m saying is, when those diagnostics chart were also developed, that was a white sheet in an engineering environment, the car was brand new, it’s just not there to identify every possible situation. It is a good guide.

Dave: (602) 277-5827, we’ve got four calls and one open, but I want to get to this text here. Looks like Marcos from Tulsan has a ‘99 Nissan Pathfinder. He changed the belt seven months ago and now when he starts it he gets a squeak that goes on for about three minutes. That’s the annoying squeak that wakes up your neighbors in the morning, you know? So, what could be going on, why does he have this squeak? You ever heard this squeak from a car belt in the morning?

Matt: Well, the belt is hydroplaning, just like a tire skidding or burning out on the pavement. The belt and the pulley, there’s some slippage there. So, you’ve got a belt that’s too loose or a bearing or idler surface that’s bad or something in the pulley system, and that’s a whole system. But it very well could just be a loose belt. Or bad tensioner.

Dave: Bad tensioner, also, you know, if you’ve got a bearing that’s going bad, it’s kind of draggy, it takes a little while to get that thing kick started in the morning. So, thanks for the text. Let’s go with… who am I going to go with, Matt? I’m going to go with Ryan in Gilbert on an ‘05 Honda Civic. How can we help you, Ryan? You’re on Bumper to Bumper.

Ryan: Hey guys, thanks for taking my call.

Dave: You bet.

Ryan: I was using an engine cleaner this morning and the car was hot and there’s a piece in the lower front of the Civic with a wire coming out of it and now it’s steaming pretty bad, it was smoking and it smelled pretty bad and it kind of got me to worrying a little bit. I’m not sure if you guys know the piece I’m talking about and if that’s going to be an issue.

Matt: A little lost, you were doing an engine clean? Like pressure washing the engine?

Ryan: I was using a spray out of an aerosol can. I got an engine cleaning kit from AutoZone.

Matt: I mean, to clean grease off the outside or are you trying to clean carbon off the inside?

Ryan: Clean grease off of the inside of the engine.

Matt: I’m still confused, Dave? I mean, are you degreasing the engine or are you doing an engine decarbon to make the car run better.

Ryan: Degreasing the engine.

Matt: Okay, you’re degreasing the externals of the engine. And then what, so you hosed it all down with this cleaner and chemical stuff?

Ryan: Yes, I did. And there’s a front part of the car that has a wire coming out of it and it just smoked up pretty bad and the wiring is all eroded now, just needed to know if that’s an issue.

Matt: Hmm, well maybe what, I’m, you’re, is this a four, yeah, it’s a four cylinder. Maybe you’re talking about the exhaust manifold? It could have been, and maybe that’s just the oxygen sensor wire sticking out of there. I’m not quite…

Dave: That’s exactly what I pictured when he said that, but it’s so hard to even really know where he’s going.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, it sounds like maybe you sprayed all over the exhaust manifold. But, it doesn’t make sense that the wiring would be bare, and yes, any time you have bare wiring that’s for sure an issue. Just not quite sure, we need some better information. That’s something you’re probably going to want to get in to somebody. Maybe you want to go to the auto part store and they can at least point you in the right direction of what this thing is that you’re looking at or what’s going on. Sorry we couldn’t be more help.

Dave: Well, I want to go to the email of the week from one of our listeners who has a 2007 Honda Pilot, four wheel drive, 57,000 miles. The car has been driven in the Phoenix area (hot) since he bought it brand new. So, I think hot he’s playing into his equation.u I am aware of a problem that I would face if the belt breaks, but I’m not convinced I should change it now. Maybe wait a year or more? What would you suggest? And, I think there’s a lot of people that have this question. I know on the Hondas in the manual it says 60,000 miles down below with a little asterisk if it’s run at temperatures above a 110 degrees on a regular basis.

Matt: Consistently.

Dave: But, to be honest with you, I spent a little time in the HVAC business. We’re not above 110 for more than 1% of the time, I mean, it’s so rare that that happens. It is a hot town, but I’m not, I just haven’t seen an Odyssey or a Pilot in a long time with a broken timing belt. Have you?

Matt: No… Hondas, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a Honda timing belt break. We see this a lot, I think people are being too aggressive putting these things out at 60,000 miles. It’s… it’s too much, it’s too frequent and I think it’s a waste of money. That belt will make it a 105,000 miles. Now, the strange part of this equation is, seven, it’s seven, maybe eight years old depending on when the production date was. So, that’s more equivalent to like around 85,000 miles as far as time and that’s a gauge that I use at my shop. I would say maybe 90,000 miles. It’s tough, again, the relationship with your shop, having your regular guy to go to… We can judge a lot about the timing belt based off the condition of the outer serpentine belt. If that thing is really in bad shape that might be an indicator.

Dave: Well, the other thing we mentioned, talking before the show, is the cooling system, because when you do the timing belt you are going to do the water pump. I mean, what does the cooling system look like? Maybe it does need a cooling system service but not necessarily a water pump and a timing belt.

Matt: That doesn’t, yeah, exactly, that doesn’t mean that it gets a water pump. I’m thinking that if that’s my car or my customer, we’re going to put this thing out, we’re going to be checking it every so often, we’re going to have a couple deadlines. Maybe, based off of the production date, we’re going to move that out six months. I’m sure it’s going to be fine through this year. We might be looking at next spring, we might say, let’s just do it at 90,000. But, for now I think I’d save your, my money. I was in Vegas this week at a Napa expo, I didn’t get a chance to gamble, but I would gamble on this one. I’d throw my money on the table all day long that this thing will make it to 90,000 without breaking.

Dave: Well you can email us at Email questions for future show topics, we won’t necessarily email you back but we will bring it up on the show, on future shows. We’ve got Steve, Brenda and Doug and maybe time for one more at (602) 277-5827. You’re listening to Matt and Dave your KTAR car guys on Bumper to Bumper Radio.


Announcer: Few cities are as car centric as Phoenix and this is the show that’ll help you to better understand that machine you depend on to get around the valley. It’s Bumper to Bumper Radio, KTAR News on 92.3 FM and the KTAR app for Android and iPhone.


Matt: Welcome back to Bumper to Bumper Radio, I am Matt Allen along with Dave Riccio and we are enjoying quite a cool May morning. I don’t know when it was this cool last time but I don’t think it’s going to last and one of those items that is very sensitive to the heat, and we’re going to get blasted I’m sure with 100 degrees, this is it, it’s torture season now. Your battery is one thing under the hood of your car that you can be proactive on and replace and get that taken care of before it happens to be you’re going out to that wedding…

Dave: Tuxedo and everything!

Matt: Graduation! How’d you like to be the guy or that gal that misses high school graduation because you’re being cheap Charlie on the battery and wanted to let it go a little bit longer? On next week’s show you’re not going to want to miss, we’re going to have the folks from Interstate Battery here. If you have questions about your battery, save them for next week or be out there listening. You’re going to learn a lot about batteries and understand what you need to do to make sure you’re… what a good battery is, what a bad battery is, a cheap one. There’s a difference between a cheap one and a good one and an expensive one and an inexpensive one. A lot to learn about batteries, so next week that’s what we’ll be talking about.

Dave: Well, we’ve got some phone calls that we want to get to. I’m going to go with Doug in Scottsdale on a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe. Hey Doug, you are on Bumper to Bumper Radio. What can we do for you?

Doug: Hey guys. I have a question about oil, but before I do that, my ’08 Tahoe has got about just under 50,000 and I had a GPMS go out last year so I had to go ahead and replace all four, just over five note.

Matt: Yeah, that was a good idea. You probably didn’t have to, but…

Doug: No, I didn’t have to.

Matt: But, exactly, one goes bad, they’re all the same age, they’ve got an internal battery. You’re not going to pay to have that thing retested and have the hassle again. So, good one there.

Doug: Yeah, but it was about that age where it was fine so just went ahead and did all four. I had a question about switching the vehicle over to synthetic oil. Can you tell me the pros and cons on that?

Dave: I’m personally a big fan of synthetic oil. I use it in my Honda Element, I always have, because I’m hard on the car. I still change my oil every 5,000 miles, some people will use synthetic oil because they want to extend the oil change intervals and maybe they’re mathing it out and maybe it’s cheaper. It’s better protection for the car, so the engine is going to put up with more. I drive my car like a scolded dog, and just, you know, I want to take care of it, so I use synthetic oil. That’s just me.

Matt: Well, his question was, transitioning to. When the synthetics came out, the Mobile 1s and the 80s and such. Technology has changed, the seal technology, the oil technology, the additives. There was some times where people, there was the myth, maybe it was the urban legend, “If I start using synthetic oil, my car is going to start leaking oil.”

Dave: I think I remember seeing that when it first did come around. You would change oil, go to synthetic, and these cars are leaking all of a sudden.

Matt: Yeah, that was like 1983 though. So, 2008 car and 2015 don’t worry about it. Just get your oil changed and make your shift over to synthetic. But, again, like you said Dave, I’m not going it to extend the drain interval. Maybe, in this case I take it from a 3,000 mile oil change to a 5,000 mile oil change. I’m not going, I’m not going to care what the light in the Tahoe tells me. “Okay, change the oil” or the percentage. I would probably shift over to a 5,000 because that synthetic… maybe that’s the difference when the radiator hose blows and the car gets hot, whether you wipe out the bearings or just blow the head gasket or whether you make it off the freeway when something goes wrong. I like it for the protection.

Dave: Thanks for the call, Doug. We’re going to go with Steve in Scottsdale on a 2005 Jeep Cherokee V8. How can we help you Steve.

Doug: Hi guys. I’ve got another engine light. It seemed to have came on about one month after the warranty ran out. It’s got 100,000 miles on it. I’ve had it checked at three different places, usually in anticipation of emissions testing and… two independents, one dealer, best answer I’ve gotten yet is, “We don’t know, we’d have to tear the whole thing down.” And, you know, the gas cap, run premium on it, everything runs fine, but I cannot get that engine light to go off.

Matt: Did they give you any sort of idea what the, you know, because we plug in that check engine light when it’s on, there’s going to be an error message. Did they give you any idea what the error message what.

Doug: Like I said, the best one I’ve heard so far is, “We get different messages when plugging in at different times. We don’t know what it is.” We discussed going on down the line and tearing it apart and I was like no way. If that, if there is a way to get passed emissions, which we probably shouldn’t talk about, but I can get through it and it runs fine and I bet it would pass with the light on but they won’t let you in, so. If there is, tell me!

Matt: Well, no. The problem is, it won’t pass with the light on, because it means that the car is not running right. The reason that light is on, the car is doing a self-test and when it, when it comes across it’s own, it can identify that it has an issue with itself, it’s not too proud to admit it has a problem, and that light comes on. So, these two different shops that you’re going to, are they actually bringing the car on and diagnosing it? Are you paying them anything for that conclusion? Or…

Doug: Yes, I am paying for the diagnostics, and one of them’s diagnostics, there’s two shops, independent shops and one was the dealer, Ford dealer.

Matt: See, I just wonder if there’s just not something getting caught in translation of “We have to tear it all down.” If… I’m going to go out on a limb and let’s just make an assumption that it’s an evap failure. Now, I wouldn’t like someone tell me I have got to tear my car apart. That’s a word that if we used that in the shop… we don’t tear things apart. There’s a diagnostic fault code there and maybe it’s for, we talked about emissions last week, maybe it’s for an evap leak. So, you need to find out what that is. And then if they’re charging you… I mean… this is a difficult one. They’re charging you for a diagnosis, they’re telling you that there’s a problem, and then it sounds to me that you’re electing not to go take their advice, maybe because of the fear of quote, what “tear it down” means. So, maybe you’re looking for an answer that you’re not getting so you’re keeping going to two independents and a dealer and you’re seeking the right answer, doctor shopping maybe.

Dave: I think out of three shops, somebody’s got the right answer. And, you know, you can talk to five different technicians, you’re going to get four different answers and three of them’s right. So, I think that somebody has got to be on the right path. It can’t be that complicated.

Matt: And they could all be in the right path! It’s just not the information that you want to hear possibly, so I would go back to the one that you think is the most appropriate, that you had the best feeling about, say, “Okay, fix it!” Let’s not try to circumvent the system, fix the car, but then here’s the beauty of it, they’re going to own it when they’re done with it. When they tell you the car is fixed, it’s got to be fixed, but you have got to allow them the leeway to do that.

Dave: I think the point of the show is that there is room for diagnosis when it’s there and do you pay for it, is it worth it? Yes, it’s worth it if you’re working with a good qualified shop, which you can find at Bumper to Bumper Radio. Thanks, Brie for answering the phones and running the show. If you’re looking for a friendly, honest, competent shop, again, Remember never to text and drive! From all the shops at Bumper to Bumper Radio, Happy Mother’s Day weekend!