Engine Light On - 2002 Toyota Sienna Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place HELP!

Engine Light on — problem with 2002 Toyota Sienna. My Toyota Sienna now has about 120,000 miles on it. At 115,000 miles +/- I was conscientious and brought my car to the Toyota Dealer for a routine servicing which cost several hundred dollars. My car was working perfectly fine before the servicing. However, within a week the engine light came on. I brought the car back to the Toyota Dealer who hooked up the engine and said that the code indicated that I needed a new computer at a cost of about $2,000. I didn’t quite believe this so I sought a second opinion at another Toyota Dealer who advised me that I needed two new catalytic converters at a cost of about $1,800. After about six weeks, the engine light unexpectedly went off and stayed off for about two to three weeks. Unfortunately that didn?t last – the light came back on about two weeks ago and is still on. Now I don’t know who to believe or what to do. Of course, in the middle of this, I received notice that my car was due for emissions testing by the third week in April. HELP! Any suggestions?

You could have better luck at an independent shop. As a bonus, when you go to an independent shop, you get to talk to a “man of the wrench” (or, hopefully, an able diagnostician).
There are emissions specialist shops around. I don’t know if one would be better than a good general mechanic; but, you can ask around, thereof.

Both Autozone and Murray’s offer free diagnostic scans, sometimes they make you pay for the scanner and then when you return it they return your money. The scans will give you an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) number. These numbers correspond to a problem code standard for all cars. When you have the number, you can look it up at http://www.obd-codes.com/ and it’ll give you a basic diagnosis.

Keep in mind though, for some problems, this system is very much like going to the doctor and saying ‘I can’t walk’ to which he responds ‘your foot has a bruise.’ It’s not necessarily an exact diagnosis but it gives you some direction.