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California Autozone not reading codes?

A friend of mine who lives in LA told me last night that Autozone won’t read codes anymore in California because they got sued for it once.

Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I figured I’d ask here. Anyone else seen this in Cali?

Don’t know if it’s true or not. But I can tell you for sure if I was sued, I’d stop the service immediately.

Sued for WHAT?? I believe the real deal is parts stores will no longer reset the computer, clear the trouble codes, and turn off the CEL…

Anyone can buy a USB to OBD-2 interface cable and a simple scan program for their laptop that allows codes to be read and ECM’s to be reset anytime the car owner wishes to…e-Bay, $20-$30.

That’s what I was wondering. What’s the lawsuit say? “Uh, you told me what was wrong with my car, for free, but I had to pay to get it fixed. I’m uh, suing.”

I don’t get it. I suspect my friend has his facts wrong, or went to a store staffed by morons. Either is possible :wink:

From what I have heard (on here, I believe), California auto parts stores are not allowed to scan for codes any more because law in that state considers code scanning to be a form of auto repair, and AutoZone and other parts stores, of course, are not repair facilities.

I have heard of a class action lawsuit a few years ago against one of the parts stores, AutoZone I believe, for scanning for codes and selling parts based on their counter people’s ‘diagnosis.’ The most common parts sold were mass airflow sensors. Go figure. A very expensive part that is very easy to replace. When the CEL came back, people got mad. I even had this happen once a couple years ago. My scantool was broken and my CEL on, so I went to Advance Auto Parts to pull the code. I don’t remember the specific number, but the description was “manufacturer specific air/fuel ratio code.” The counter person immediately told me the mass airflow sensor needed to be replaced. I was surprised at how long he put up an argument, even after I told him I was an ASE Certified tech and only there because my scantool was broken. That’s the kind of stuff that will get you sued.

Heres a possible scenario. Joe customer walks in and asks for a free scan because his CEL is on. Auto Zone person says sure and scans Joe’s car. Comes up with TPS code. AZ says, “You need a new TPS” Joe says “Cool, I’ll take it”. Joe, feeling good thinking “Wow I just fixed my car myself” defiantly puts the middle finger up and saying up yours to the dealerships and auto shops in general because its only going to cost him whatever the price of the TPS is. Joe pays lets say $200 for a TPS then goes home and installs it. Feeling rather good about his new found auto electric skills, Joe goes on test drive when all of a sudden, BAM, CEL is back on. Joe goes back to AZ and tells AZ person "This thing didnt work, I want my $200 back. AZ person says “Sorry, no returns on electrical items”. See where I’m going with this?? Now Joe has to go to a shop, remember, the ones he just defiantly put his middle finger up at?? Pays $500 to have the wiring to the TPS traced and repaired. He now takes AZ to court for his $200 plus whatever else he can get because that guy sold him the wrong part.


The last time I heard of someone trying to get codes read at the local California Autozone I was told they’d had to buy a scanner, with the promise that the store would buy it back for the same price if they didn’t want to keep it.

The CEL has moved the automotive fishing expedition up to the $Trillion Dollar Level$…Many “professional” mechanics are little better than store clerks at diagnosing OBD-2 codes…The OBD-2 system and emissions testing is the BEST thing that has EVER happened to the auto parts business…Just shovel money into it until the light finally goes off…

If it’s running okay, a roll of black tape costs .39 cents…

But, but, but…What if something SERIOUS happens and the light is covered over with black tape??? If something SERIOUS happens, you will know about it soon enough, you don’t need a CEL to tell you…

I’m not familiar with this but if true it doesn’t necessarily mean that AZ was at fault.
Many of those DIY people at the parts counter assume a lot of things and I’ve overheard several of these things while at AZ.

A few years ago a gentleman in his early 50s and who was driving a very late model Ford kingcab pickup was apparently given a MAF code after a free scan. Since this was a pricy item he was demanding the counter guy tell him whether or not it was going to fix his truck.
The counter guy kept telling him that he could only give him the code and it was up to the customer or a shop to weed it out.

This guy must have spent 10 minutes carping about “I’m not going to buy this unless it fixes it” and “you gave me the code so you’re saying the MAF is the problem”, etc, etc.
The clerk was patient I admit. I would have washed my hands of him after the first 5 minutes.
When I left the guy was still grumbling about buying a part and not knowing if it’s going to cure the problem or not.

The OBDII system seems to have never found it’s place in the world. Some people think it will tell you exactly what is wrong with a car and some mechanics seem to forget what to do in the absence of a code. OBDII is just a tool and it is not a “swiss army knife”

Well, O’Reilly seems to be in the same boat. Per their site they will pull codes anywhere but CA and HI (California and Hawaii). No reason is given.