2010 Sept 27 Monday The engine light came on again on Saturday and it stayed on. I took the car in to Toyota and they checked it out and said that their code reader picked up three problems , and that one had been addressed, but the other two were the oxygen sensor and the catalytic converter. I asked the service manager what the problem was, and he said it was likely the oxygen sensor, but they couldn’t be sure until they replaced it. I asked him, if replacing the oxygen sensor doesn’t fix the problem, then I’m not going to be charged for it , right? He looked at me and said, no, you will still be charged. I then replied, so why do you get to call yourselves “professionals” if you don’t know what you are doing and are just replacing parts until the problem is fixed? I can get the same type of un-professionalism at any so-called auto service shop? He didn’t argue the point, except to say that we try our best, and that’s all we can do, given your vehicle and electronics that we are working with. New cars will give you exactly what you are asking, but unfortunately, your car is not equipped with that technology.
He felt sincere and so I asked what a oxygen sensor would cost. He quoted me a price of #414.12 plus tax, installed. I know they are expensive, but that was crazy. The parts/service manger then suggested an aftermarket replacement for $167.00 plus labor and taxes. That was still high, but I said ok. The part had to be ordered and it was going to be in the next day. The bill for the test was $96.05
2010 Sept 28 I took my car in at 2:00 pm and it was out within an hour. The service manager said that it tests okay now, but he mentioned that the catalytic converter was still high, but that it will most likely re-adjust itself now that the oxygen sensor is working properly and the engine is not burning excessive fuel. The bill came to $270.00. So with the previous test bill, the whole cost is $366.05
Curious, I asked what the catalytic converter would cost and I almost fell over when she said $795.00 plus installation and taxes. It so happens that the exhaust system is one piece, so I would be replacing everything. The service manager quietly said that I could probably go to Midas Muffler and just get the catalytic converter cut into the existing exhaust system at a fraction of the price. I said that I hoped that the oxygen sensor fixes the problem, and that I would be happy not to see them again until January for an oil change.