1996 Lexus ES 300: Check Engine...Again
February 26, 2013
Just when you think you have an old car sorted out, it seems that something else always surfaces. The infamous "Check Engine" light is back on in our 1996 Lexus ES 300, just over a month after we cleared it for the oxygen sensor.
We have a ScanGauge code reader in the office, which we used to get more information about the light. The Lexus gave us a "P0441," code. This code has something to do with the evaporative emission control system having an incorrect purge flow. That's about all we know so far. The P0441 code could mean anything from a faulty gas cap (it seems to be fine as far as I can tell) to the need for a new charcoal canister.
The car drives normally, and if it didn't need to pass a smog inspection, I'd consider ignoring the light. But we're going to be selling the car soon and in California, it is the seller's responsibility to get it in smog-test-passing condition. Besides, taking care of this will better help us sell the car. Imagine going to inspect a car you want to buy and seeing a bright "Check Engine" light. It's a major red flag.
I'll be taking the car in to the mechanic next week and will report back with more details.
Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 153,622 miles