Engine Light On -Code P1441-Accurate Diagnoses for my White Angel, Nissan Altima 2001

I just had a smoke test done since my engine light was on -the diagnosis code was P1441. The car shop told me they cant tell where the small evap leak is coming from and that I should replace the canister vent valve but yet they can’t guarantee this will make the light go off, which makes not sense to me. I was under the impression the smoke test would tell me the problem to fix!

What does code P1441 mean? - The repair shop reset my factory codes and told me the light may come back on which it did when I drove home from work last night and now it feels like the car is hiccuping and not running as smooth as it usually does . ( on 11/15 /14 the engine light came on -a different shop told me I needed to replace the gas tank filler neck -but then the light went off about a week later after I tightened the gas cap-)

I asked the same mechanic who did the smoke test, to fix the front flex pipe and on his own accord he repaired exhaust leak at front pipe instead but now it feels like the air is trapped and the car is slightly hiccuping ruining jumpy when I initially drive - What to do?

I am totally frustrated and overwhelmed -already spent 700.00 on car in past month Here is some car history

Later summer leaking noticed fan would run long time-after shutting car down. In the fall I had noticed antifreeze was going quick in between oil changes.
-Around Thanksgiving front flex pipe was worked on . -From then till end of January using up lot coolant and would have t o add antifreeze about once a week. Late January I saw radiator fluid leak on top of radiator - A new aluminum radiator was put in -guy did a rush job and then suddenly car would not start -Tiple AAA came out to test the battery which was okay and said it was electrical and that my most of my fuses seemed okay. My car was towed to electrical shop and they said the main fuse was blown which was replaced and 2 wires had melted together ( most likely because the flex pipe was never fixed right causing it to get very hot underneath)

A new water pump was put in several weeks later as discovered more coolant was leaking this time form the water pump. In the meantime intermittently would smell gas coming from the heater vents and would still smell a strong scent that was giving me headaches that I could not quite determine. but it was not a sweet smell like antifreeze which I did smell initially after radiator was put in and the water pump too a little.

Recently found a dead bird in my car grille which I tried to remove and could not -the man who fixed my water pump came out and said the car was fine and not to worry about driving it and that the car thermostat was good after looking at it at my request. The bird is somehow gone but I still wonder if the thermostat truly is fine and if the radiator fan is working properly - I feel like car runs hotter than usual - even though the “gauges” say everything is fine and no one is test driving the car it seems-After doing some research I am beginning to wonder if I have head gasket issues. That was replaced in 2012. How long do they typically last???

Not sure what to do from here and who to trust? Appreciate any suggestions in my detective work here- I so need my car running well again or to make a decision to trade it in as I am running out of money for repairs whcih seems to never end lately and rather increase vs. decrease as of lately! I thank you for feedback and suggestion as I continue this detective work to fix my white angel. I really don’t have money in the bank for a newer car…

You have a 14 year old car. It seems you have had several different shops and mechanics working on it - and I’m not certain these mechanics are very good. You seem to be linking problems and symptoms together that are likely not related.

The dead battery and melted wires are not due to a hot flex pipe. The wires aren’t, or shouldn’t be near the pipe. Most likely cause is a mistake by a mechanic, such as leaving a tool where it shorted the circuit.

You could have a blown head gasket. The past coolant leaks may have caused the motor to overheat and warp the head.

Find one good mechanic and stick with them. It will take some more time to sort out your problems. And it might be time to shop for a more reliable car.

Despite all of the “distractors” in the OP’s post, the current situation (DTC P1441) does indeed refer to a problem with the fuel system’s Evaporative Emissions control system. More than likely either the Purge Valve (referred to by her mechanic as the canister vent valve) needs to be replaced, but the problem could also be the result of leakage in the line leading to that valve.

The parts involved in this repair are cheap, and the repair should only be a costly one if it is necessary to drop the gas tank in order to access it. If the repair doesn’t involve dropping the gas tank, then it should be both quick and relatively cheap.

Other than that, all I can do is to echo the advice given by Uncle Turbo.

Any suggestions for a good reliable honest thorough mechanic ?? And if I do have a blown head gasket, which yes, after researching I figured out myself could be a problem, it’s still not related to the evap leak in the car.

No, the head gasket and an evap leak are totally unrelated–in every way.

If you go to the top of this page and click on the “mechanics files” link, you will get a searchable database of recommended mechanics. Just plug your zip code into the search, and you will get names and details regarding mechanics near you.

Personally, I wouldn’t spend the money to replace the head gasket (and machine the cylinder head) on a 14 year old car that may have many other issues…

The issue in keeping an old, or older, car is they will need more repairs more frequently. When the car is your ONLY car this can lead to pressure and some bad decisions. The priority is get me back on the road quickly - and the priority needs to be changed to find the problem and tell me what it will cost in time and money to do a proper repair. Getting the correct diagnosis takes time. A mechanic has to check out all the possible reasons for the symptoms to determine the real reason in this case. Sometimes 2 things are happening concurrently, which can make things tricky to figure out.

The OP needs to change some tactics to keep her car on the road. 1st get one good mechanic to do all the work the car needs, so the mechanic gets to know the car and it’s history. Next, find a cheap place to rent a car when your vehicle is “out of service” for a few days for repairs. Then when your older car has a problem you know where to rent a car and that gives the mechanic the time to do a proper repair.

When you are in a hurry and can’t leave your car, then quicky repairs happen. The problem isn’t really solved, just patched up for a bit. In the end it costs the owner more time and money.

I cannot personally vouch for this, but over the years, the brothers said to keep an older car running typically cost about $1000 a year. Sounds like you are within that range, OP.

It is truth you pay one way or the other. Either in buying a new car, or maintaining an old one.

People tend mostly to look at what the value of the car is, that is, current market value. If I give a young man a free car, in good shape, the first time he has a $300 repair, he is going to get rid of it, even though $300 might not be much for good car. Instead he will spend $3000 for a car no better than what I gave him free.

Then in six months, he will have a $300 repair and think not much of it, because of course he paid $3000 for the car.

Good post by @irlandes above. If you want to keep your car on the road save up $1000 per year to use to keep it in good repair. Decide on a shop and build a relationship with them. Ask friends co-workers family members etc for recommendations for the best local shops.

About the issue of guaranteeing the problem will be fixed. You have the option of course to see if you can find a shop that will issue you a guarantee. For this problem you may have difficulty finding such a shop. Evap leaks are sort of like roof leaks. It’s hard to tell where the leak is occurring. You just have to make an educated guess, replace that part, and see if it fixes the problem. This won’t go on indefinitely b/c there are only a certain number of places it can leak. If I were in our situation the first thing I’d do is purchase a new OEM gas cap from Nissan and try that.

@irlandes Right on! I’ve kept track over the years and used about $900 per year or so to keep cars in safe a reliable condition.

The average US driver spends about $1100 a year in maintenance, repairs and tires.