200 Malibu Pressure Sensor and Sway Bar

Hi, I am a grad student, meaning money is tight, and would appreciate feedback on whether I need to make two fixes that my mechanic suggested.

First, my fuel tank pressure sensor is apparently blown. It seems like this is mainly a problem from an EPA standpoint, and because it might trigger the check engine light repeatedly. Are there safety issues I should worry about? The cost of repair was $228. Seem reasonable?

Second, there is apparently a crack in my sway bar. As the mechanic explained it, the bar is pinched when it connects to…the frame of the car, I guess, and is cracked at the pinch. The price here was steeper, $400 or more.

Any feedback is appreciated. I just want to make sure the car is safely drivable. Thanks!

The pressure sensor repair cost seems reasonable. As far as the sway bar is concerned, many cars used to have those as optional extras. It affects the sway and lean when you corner. If you are pinched for ash, I would not bother with that right now; just drive carefully.

That’s good to know, thank you. Is the pressure sensor a necessary fix, in your opinion?


Both of the repairs appear to be priced fairly.

Does your state have an emissions program? If it does, you won’t pass with a bad fuel tank pressure sensor.

Does your state have a safety inspection? If it does, you might not pass. A sway bar is part of the suspension system and affects the vehicle’s handling. If I was doing the inspection, I wouldn’t pass the car.

Even if your state doesn’t have a safety inspection, I would get that sway bar taken care of, for the reasons I mentioned above.

We don’t have emissions testing or safety inspections, but I assumed the sway bar could be a safety concern. Thanks for your input!

You are fortunate, in that you have plenty of time to weigh your options.

I’d also be more concerned about the sway bar than the fuel tank pressure sensor. Unless you have an opinion from a knowledgeable source who knows the ins and out of this particular car, the sway bar problem should be repaired in my opinion.

The tank pressure sensor is part of how the ECM (computer) prevents gasoline fumes from venting into the atmosphere. The system is closed, so when you use gas as you drive, air has to be introduced into the tank, otherwise it would form a vacuum and soon no gas would get to the engine. The ECM does this, as uses the fuel tank pressure as a way to know when and how much air to introduce. I guess as long as you don’t notice any drivability symptoms like hesitation, stalling, etc, it would be ok to ignore for the present. Provided you don’t mind loosing some mpg due to vented gas fumes, and don’t have to worry about passing emissions and safety tests to register your car where you live Again, even on the tank pressure sensor, it would be best to get an informed opinion from somebody who knows the ins and out on this particular car. Not fixing it could result in something more expensive getting damaged.

My mechanic, whom I trust, seemed unconcerned about the pressure sensor. He joked that I could wait until I get my tax return next year to fix the sensor.