Computer codes on Toyota & Am I being screwed by the dealer?

My 2009 Toyota Corolla is at the dealer and they want to replace the computer for $617.

Here’s a timeline:

A year ago, I was told by a Toyota dealer in DC that my check engine light was on due to a faulty O2 sensor.
Took it back to Pittsburgh to get that replaced, but they found the air flow sensor to be bad, replaced that instead.
Check engine light would come on every now and again, but it never stayed on more than a few days.
Just last week, the car started hesitating, lurching backward sort of, when going from 1st to 2nd (it’s an automatic).
This time, I’m in Cincy, and the dealer here wants to replace the computer.
Here are the codes they got: P0138, P0456, P0607.
I called the Pittsburgh guys, and they are skeptical. They think maybe it’s the 02 sensor. (Oh really?)

I won’t be getting the computer replaced – it seems drastic for a few codes that have come up before. But what should I do? If I don’t let them do anything, I’m out the diagnostic $. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you in advance!

According to this site ( P0607 refers to a mode where the ECM has failed and it could be fixed by it being reflashed (ie reprogrammed). Those other codes could be the computer’s swansong - it may be making up problems because it is having an issue itself.

If they insist on replacing the computer, I’d try to make my case, stating that the toyota was bought for its perceived reliability. An ECM should hardly ever fail, especially a 2009. They should just fix it on their dime. Wouldn’t that be covered under warranty?

Edit: I see TSBs for that very problem but different year Carollas. Clearly they’ve had problems in the past with it. It may very well be something as stupid as a bad ground to the ECM but they should fix that problem. I’d also insist on getting the diagnostics money back. An ECM should not fail.

I would thing the computer is covered under the 8 yr 80k mile emissions equipment warranty. This is straight from the EPA web site:

"What Are Specified Major Emission Control Components?

 There are three specified major emission control components,

covered for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles of vehicle use on 1995
and newer vehicles:

      * Catalytic converters.

      * The electronic emissions control unit or computer (ECU).

      * The onboard emissions diagnostic device or computer (OBD).

 Catalytic converters are critical emission control components

that have been installed on most cars and trucks manufactured since
1975. Since engines don’t burn fuel completely during the combustion
process, the exhaust contains a significant amount of harmful
pollutants such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and oxides of
nitrogen. The catalytic converter aids the conversion of these
pollutants to less harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, water
vapor, nitrogen, and oxygen before the exhaust is expelled into the

 The electronic emissions control unit or computer monitors

certain powertrain functions and controls various operating parameters
to help the vehicle run efficiently and with the lowest possible
emissions. Ignition, transmission function, air injection, exhaust
gas recirculation (EGR), engine operating temperature and fuel system
parameters are some of the systems monitored and/or controlled by the
electronic emissions control unit.

 The onboard emissions diagnostic device monitors the operation of

a vehicle’s emission control system and alerts the driver with a
dashboard light when malfunctions occur. The system will record where
the problem is occurring and assist automotive technicians in
diagnosing and repairing emission control malfunctions. Since some
emission control malfunctions do not have an adverse effect on vehicle
performance, they can go undetected by the driver for quite some time.
The onboard diagnostic device will help catch malfunctions early,
preventing a significant output of harmful exhaust emissions from your
vehicle, and possibly in time to be covered by the emissions control
warranty. Often this “device” is part of the electronic control unit
mentioned above."

“P0607 Control module performance” may lead them to believe the computer has failed but there is a tech tip for this problem;

“If both DTCs P0138 and P0607 are stored, diagnose P0138 first.
 Follow Repair Manual procedure for DTC P0138. During diagnosis, the following may be helpful:
 Check Freeze Frame Data.
 An O2S B1S2 value of 1.27v indicates a short to a power source, such as the Bank One Sensor Two (B1S2) heater circuit.
 If a short is suspected, visually inspect B1S2 connector E86, which is located behind the driver’s side console box insert (to the right of the accelerator pedal), for signs of water intrusion.”

The oxygen sensor is likely the cause.

P0456 “Evaporative emission system leak”;
There may be an evap leak but there is a software update to address this.


“Some 2009 – 2010 model year Corolla and Matrix vehicles with a 2AZ engine may exhibit a MIL
“ON” condition with Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P0456 – Evaporative Emission Control System
Leak Detected (Very Small Leak). The Engine Control Module/ECM (SAE term: Powertrain Control
Module/PCM) logic has been modified to reduce the possibility of this condition occurring. Use the
following repair procedure to address this condition.”

Listen to @Nevada_545 . That guy knows his codes.

If you have a smart phone, or can print out these responses, let the dealer know that there are a whole bunch of folks who “have your back”.

A 2009 is pushing four years old. Sensing that JaimeDC seems to really get around, does the car still have under 80K miles in order to be covered by the emissions warranty?

Which Toyota dealer in Cincy is this? Some of them are crooks… and horribly incompetent mechanics.

Just IMHO…

1 Like

Hello all – thank you so much for the responses. These are so thorough --it’s my first time coming on here to ask a question, and with this kind of experience, I’m sure I’ll be back.

MG McAnick is right – the car has 84,000 miles. I went through a lot of your thoughts here with the mechanic, and he insisted it really was the ECM that needed replacement (he actually seemed to appreciate that I [but really you ] were doing some homework). In fact, they decided to do a “goodwill” act and pay for it. I figured – if they’re willing to pay for it, fine. So today, as I’m expecting the call to tell me it’s ready, instead I hear that NOW they have to replace the air flow sensor (again? another one?). So, I have a 2009 Toyota Corolla with at least 2 faulty air flow sensors, a possibly faulty 02 sensor, and a failed main computer? Wow. Basically, if they pay for it and guarantee it once again, go for it. But I’m still suspicious… either that I am indeed being messed with here, or that a bigger problem is being missed.

Oh, and eraser1998, this is the one in No Ky, and I saw good reviews. I have had awful dealings with the Fairfield dealership though. We steer clear of that one.

Never tried the Fairfield one. I’m thinking of one elsewhere that I particularly don’t trust. I’ve seen them tighten lugnuts to near 200 lb-ft (!?!) and even use an impact wrench to tighten a bolt that was supposed to be hand-tight only (non-structural, non-safety related)

Last time I used them (discount coupon made it cheaper than DIY), they tried to convince me that my car desperately needed $2000+ in repairs. I declined all of it, inspected it myself, found nothing wrong… took it to my normal mechanic, who inspected it and laughed them off, agreeing 100% with me. Several years later now, and naturally, no problem.

Frankly, I’ve been terribly unimpressed with Toyota dealers in the area. Maybe because Toyota has a significant presence in the area they don’t feel a need to improve service? When we last shopped for a car, one of them showed complete ambivalence to our presence - I like a hands off sales approach, but acting like you’re inconveniencing THEM is absurd. When we shopped with a relative at another Toyota dealership for a used car, they insisted that we needed an extended powertrain warranty for 6 months, at the cost of $1,000. That would have been highway robbery already - but to make things worse, the car was under FACTORY powertrain warranty for another 18 months. Even if something had gone wrong, the dealer/warranty provider would never have paid out a single cent - the manufacturer would have. That would have been $1000 in 100% pure profit, guaranteed.

Sad thing is, I think some of the Honda dealers here are worse.

I also have a 2009 Toyota Corolla with 50,450 miles on it. I noticed a few days ago that (when I turned a corner) water dripped down onto my foot from, I am assuming, the air conditioner. Yesterday, my check engine light came on. The codes are P0138 & P0607. From reading the posts above, it sounds as if I need to take it in and stand my ground that it is a recurring problem with that make and year, and have them fix it without charge. Thoughts please?

Points, plugs, condenser every 12,000 miles wasn’t such a bad deal after all…