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Idiot Lights

Our emissions light lit up on the dash board of our Elantra. I took the car into the garage we have been taking it to for 5 years. The new office manager said we need front brake pads and new rotor and a new AC belt for a total cost of about $450. and then they discovered the rear o2 sensor needs to be replaced another $150 for the part and $45 for labor. $650 seems too much for this work, is it?

Probably. I would get a second opinion. Some garages use the CEL system as an income generator. When you get the work done…ask them to guarantee, in writing, that replacing the O2 sensor will turn off the CEL. Post back with the results.

What year is the car? I’ll be able to tell you how much you could get the parts for if you do it yourself if I have that info.

Why were they replacing brake pads, rotor and AC belt. Then they discovered the O2 sensor. The first 3 have nothing to do with emissions, just routine maintenance. I would be suspicious of this shop.

Whether you need all this stuff, I don’t know.

But the price sounds fair.

I reminded them that I have been a customer for five years and they took $50 dollars off the total bill, but that made me more suspicious. 98caddy, my car is 2005, I think the next time I’ll try to do the work myself.

“The new office manager said we need front brake pads and new rotor and a new AC belt for a total cost of about $450”. Maybe you had better track down the old office manager and see what he/she says. The brakes and AC belt have nothing to do with the emission light as others have said. My guess is that they diagnosed the problem as the oxygen sensor causing the emissions light to be on and then observed that the brake pads were worn and recommended the brake job for your safety.

The price doesn’t sound out of line. True the brakes have nothing to do with the emissions but as a standard practice they will do a general inspection for anything else that needs attention. Its your option to do the work or not but if they pointed it out at some point in the near future it probably would need to be done. And better off to catch it before its a problem. Just in my view anyway-I hate unscheduled problems.

The shop may be trying to parlay your CEL problem into more income for them. I don’t think the prices quoted are out of line. And it might well be the case that you do need all that other work done. But I wouldn’t have all that work done now. Ask the shop and another one for a quote to fix the CEL problem. Get a couple of bids. Once that issue is resolved, then you can deal with the other stuff.

From Advance Auto Parts:

Wearever Gold Brake Pads - Front - Part No. GMKD 941 - $37.99/both
Wearever Brake Rotor - Front - Part No. YH145576 - $30.99 ea.
Dayco Poly Rib Poly-Rib® Belt - Part No. 5040338 - $14.39 ea.
Bosch Premium Oxygen Sensor - Part No. 13461 - $64.49 ea

I would replace both brake rotors at the same time, so the parts total would be $178.85. You can often get coupon codes for Advance Auto Parts as well (such as $40.00 off of a $110.00 purchase), so that would lower the price even more.

I’m not specifically familiar with replacing the parts on your vehicle, but in general, the parts above are not difficult to replace.