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Code P0410, not passing emissions, possible solution

In case anyone else has this problem, here is one free fix to try:

In my case, my 2002 Saturn (200,000 miles) was not passing emissions and had the service engine and battery lights on. The first time I took it to a mechanic they replaced the alternator. This fixed the battery light but the service engine light was still on and the computer was still giving a P0410 (secondary air injection system malfunction) code.

Took it back to the mechanic. They tested the air pump and fuse and went through the Saturn checklist for the code but couldn’t find anything wrong with any of the parts. Their guess was that it was some electrical issue, but they didn’t want to try to fix it without knowing for sure.

Took the car to a GM dealer. They said the air pump valve and solenoid were malfunctioning. Replaced those, and a day later the service engine light came on yet again.

At this point I had spent about $800 and the car still wouldn’t pass inspection.

Finally I mentioned the problems to my lovely fiance, who checked the pipes and valves leading to the air pump and manifold and found out they were about 70% clogged with carbon. After he cleaned out what he could, the car came up with no codes and passed inspection.

So if anyone else gets this code, especially on an older car, definitely ask to have the pipes, valves, ports, and various parts of the emissions inspected for carbon deposits and cleaned before starting to replace anything expensive. Hope it helps!

Now you can go back to those two places that charged you money, and tell them that they need to refund all of it to you.


Thanks, I also have an 02 Saturn with the same code, 234k miles. Had it awhile back and replaced the relay and thermostat. I also got an occasional code for the engine too cold and that makes the pump work all the time. The relay did the trick for awhile, but now it is back again. The (air pump) motor still has continuity when I check it.

Update, I pulled the pipes and air valve on the Saturn and found the same thing. I cleaned them out and reinstalled them. I did not clear the light because I wanted to see if it worked. Sure enough, on the third drive cycle, the light went out. Thanks for the tip.