I have a 2002 Toyota Camry. I have two questions. 1. Should I purchase a "Club" for car theft deterrent even though I have a Toyota security system? I park in a parking garage. 2. I drove my Sunfire for five years with the engine light on with no repercussions. My engine light has been on in the Camry for one year. A stranger put a meter on and found PO446 Evaporation Vent Control Circuit and P1349 Variable Valve timing System Malfunction. He shut the engine light off. Would you recommend I take this situation to a mechanic? Thanks.
To your first question about anti-theft devices, the Club can be a visual deterrent but isn’t fool proof. There are two types of Club devices available. One type hooks on the brake pedal and the steering wheel so the pedal can’t be pressed and the steering wheel can’t turn. The other type hooks on two positions on the steering wheel and has a longer arm that prevents the steering wheel from turning a full turn. The problem with either of these is that the steering wheel isn’t a very solid device.
Steering wheels may look solid but most of it is padding. They are designed to deform and bend to the shape of a body if ever hit during a vehicle collision. This safety feature has helped protect many drivers but it also makes it easier to defeat devices like the Club. A determined thief can simply bend the steering wheel to remove the device and then bend it back to drive the vehicle. The type of club that connects only to the steering wheel is harder to defeat if you have a choice.
Alarm systems only work if someone actually hears them – and pays attention to them. Many alarms go off and most passer-by’s just ignore them. A hidden switch that disables the fuel pump or ignition is still one of the best ways to prevent an auto theft in my opinion but they don’t prevent someone from breaking into your car. A visible flashing LED of an alarm or security system does help reduce break-ins. The trick is to make your vehicle less desirable than other vehicles. Leave nothing visible inside and park it in a spot that has lots of pedestrian traffic if possible.
As for the codes, P0446 is a code for the vent solenoid on the evaporative emissions system. This can be set because of a faulty vent solenoid or open or shorted wiring to the solenoid. It can also be caused by leaving the gas cap loose. The vehicle will operate fine even though this code is set and there are many vehicles driving with this code set.
Code P1349 is for the variable camshaft timing. Toyota has a bulletin out for this code and the bulletin has the technician test the system with a scan tool. If the vehicle operates rough during the test, the variable camshaft timing system control system is working, so the suggested repair is to replace the camshaft actuator on the engine of the camshaft.
If your P1349 code has not returned, I would continue to drive it but change oil frequently for a couple times. Dirt in the oil or a low oil level can cause the variable camshaft timing to malfunction. If the code returns, I would have the variable camshaft timing system tested by a technician. Malfunctioning camshaft timing will cause poor fuel economy and driveability so it should be repaired.
I am a new driver and am trying to look after my car the best I can on a limited budget. My tires are almost new and I want to maximize their lifespan. My question is: How often should I check tire pressures?
You didn’t tell me what model of car you are driving so this answer is generic. First, you should check tire pressures with a gauge at least once a month or when average outside temperatures change by more than about 5 C. Air temperature makes a big change in tire pressure. Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold or after driven only a couple blocks to have accurate readings. Low tire pressure will cause the tire to heat up quickly when driven and give a false reading.
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