Have we been ripped off? Check Engine Light = EGR Valve replacement & injectors "clean-up" at dealer

Hi there! Our 2008 Equinox with roughly 90K miles showed the “service stabilitrack” warning on a Friday, next day light was still there now paired up with “check engine” light. My husband did something to the “stabilitrack” button which made both lights go away for a couple of days. Then both of these returned. Took the vehicle to the dealer (we always do for service, we just don’t know some good mechanics in our area and so far we had not had any major issues with the vehicle).

They tell my husband it is the EGR valve that supposedly needs replacement and that the reason it got to be bad is because we failed to maintain / clean the fuel injectors so those need to be washed / cleaned / serviced too so that the whole issue is resolved. No mention about the “stabilitrack” thing at all. Due to our needs of the vehicle and our lack of cars knowledge we agreed to it without looking into it further (I know we overpaid for it because it was the dealer)… Lights have been off since that and we didn’t think much of it.

But then this weekend we got this “recall” letter in the mail for that very same vehicle… talking about the “check engine light” being the issue and an apparent leak of gasoline (via odor or visual leak)… Maybe these are totally unrelated (we really hadn’t notice a lot of gasoline odor) but now I cannot help but wonder if we just paid up for something that was not needed at all to begin with, and how would we have known?

I checked the manual for the recommended maintenance and nowhere there is mention of regular maintenance needed for the fuel injectors… I looked online and while there seems to be varied opinions most of them agree that is something not needed; neither it is the EGR valve replacement… so now I am really wondering! Was it all for nothing? And how is one supposed to know this when neither me or my husband have much experience when it comes to cars? is the “check engine” light enough of an issue to maybe think this was the right thing to do?

Any thoughts? I guess I just want peace of mind that what was done was truly needed (overpriced dealer fact aside)… Thanks in advance!

They tell my husband it is the EGR valve that supposedly needs replacement

Maybe. We’d need to know what codes the computer stored.

and that the reason it got to be bad is because we failed to maintain / clean the fuel injectors so those need to be washed / cleaned / serviced too so that the whole issue is resolved.

Bull. You do not have to clean your fuel injectors as routine maintenance. Gas has detergents in it that clean them every time the car runs. You only have to clean them if something somehow manages to get through all the filters and clog them. That almost never happens.

The EGR valve may or may not have been faulty, but injector cleaning is the snake oil of modern dishonest shops. It does nothing but funnel money from your wallet to theirs.

Find a recommended mechanic in your area in the “Mechanics Files” area of this site. And don’t go back to the dealer.

Its not uncommon for a vehicle of your age to need a new EGR valve installed, but the injector cleaning is an “upsell” for which the service writer makes a small commission. It was not needed, but since the new EGR valve solved your check engine light, it was probably legitimate. The EGR valve could probably have been cleaned, but to do this, it has to be removed and the cleaning can take up quite a bit of the mechanics time and ultimately cost more than just replacing it.

Find a good independent mechanic and avoid the dealer. @keith makes an excellent point about replacing the EGR valve instead of cleaning it and re-installing.

What they said. Now you know that dealer’s service department will lie to you (about the injectors). Find a good independent shop.

Injectors get flushed if a shop and/or mechanic can prove that they are plugged and/or contributing to a driveability/misfire

Otherwise, you’re just flushing the customer’s wallet

In some cases a proper injector cleaning is useful. Unfortunately, an injector cleaning is often promoted as a profit generator rather than as an aid to engine performance.

In the event a fuel injector(s) get plugged up, start failing electrically, or (and I hate to use the word) “dirty”, this will usually be most noticeable at an idle. If the engine idle is rough or seems to have a slight stumble then that could be due to an injector fault. That’s assuming the engine and ignition system is mechanically sound, no vacuum leaks, etc.

As to the EGR, those kind of problems can be somewhat common with accumulated miles. This is especially true if the car is driven mostly in town, short hops, and things like spark plugs and so on are not kept up to date and which then soots up EGR passages or the pintle on the EGR valve.

I too would be concerned about relying on the advice from this dealer’s shop going forward.

A faulty EGR isn’t unusual on 5 year old car. That part takes a lot of abuse. EGR means exhaust gas recirculation, and exhaust gas is hot as blazes and and acidic. Any part recirculating exhaust gas takes a beating. Cleaning the injectors wouldn’t have helped. I doubt the recall you mention has anything to do w/the EGR. That is probably something with the evap system, a seemingly common problem in newer cars these days.

In the future…If the CEL comes on, have an autoparts store read the trouble code(s) stored in the cars computer. Most parts stores will do this at no charge. Make a note of the codes recovered and look them up online. They are called OB-2 codes…They look like P-0000 Now you will know what made the light come on. As for the " “service stabilitrack” that’s a different issue altogether, sometimes related to a fault in the antilock brake system or a wheel speed sensor…

Delco egr is $70 online. Not sure what u paid. No name egr is $40 or so.

Delco egr is $70 online. Not sure what u paid. No name egr is $40 or so.

Thank you all so much for your extremely informative comments… I guess the answer is YES we got ripped off regarding the injectors clean up… but the EGR replacement was probably needed… Needless to conclude we overspent on it by taking it to the dealer… I’ll do as you guys recommended and look for a good reputable mechanic in my area through this website. Next time I’ll check the codes as suggested and/or ask here before giving the go-ahead to any mechanic! You guys are extremely helpful. Thanks again!

You will have to go to the/a dealer to have that recall addressed. That is one realm in which the dealer is your go-to person. So don’t burn any bridges.