How long can I wait to replace a purge valve in my car?
December 15, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

How long can I wait to replace a purge valve in my '98 Toyota Corolla? How much is a reasonable price for getting this done?

Hey everyone. According to the guy at Autozone, the reason my check engine light is on is due to a bad purge valve. He attempted to explain it to me, and I sort of understood, but I don't really know a lot about cars. What I basically want to know is whether NOT fixing it right away can hurt my car. (He said it wouldn't, but I only trust Autozone employees . . . not that much.) He said the only thing that would happen is I would fail an emission test if I ever had to take one. (I don't think I will have to take one, but I want to try and keep my pollution under control!) He also said it would probably cost 200 bucks.

Basically I am broke right now, the soonest I would reasonably be able to afford to fix this is spring. Is waiting going to have a big impact on my car? Is it going to affect my gas mileage or anything like that? Does $200 sound about right?

posted by lblair to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
Can't say for sure without knowing what code it was, but he is probably right.
posted by 14580 at 2:55 PM on December 15, 2008

The purge valve removes the fuel vapors from the activated charcoal in the evaporative emission control (EEC) system. If it failed shut then the EEC doesn't work. This is not an issue except for the gas fumes that might get out of the tank. If it failed open you can have problems with idling, but that depends on the way that specific car deals with the EEC requirements.

It's likely the Autozone guy is right.

$200 to change it? As long as they wash the car and vacuum it. It's a little solenoid valve with two hoses and a wiring harness with two or three terminals on it. Before you spend that $200 you might look at the manual - very often libraries have collections of car manuals - and see whether it's something you can tackle on your own. In that case it will cost maybe $80 - the price of a Subaru CPV valve - plus the beer.
posted by jet_silver at 3:31 PM on December 15, 2008

Check engine lights are to scare people that don't know better into taking their car to the dealer for a big bill. Find a local mechanic or service station & get another opinion. there is NO WAY to determine what is wrong with out hooking up the proper test equipment. Or by swapping parts till the light goes out. (what the autozone guy is hoping for)
posted by patnok at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2008

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