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Mechanic accidentally fixed secondary air injection pump?

I have a beautiful 1996 Saab, 900s. Recently the check engine light came on and at Autozone they said the code was for the secondary air injection pump. I took it to a new mechanic, he checked it out and called me to say the pump itself was broken and would cost 1,000 to fix. I said that was a lot, and would think about it, and picked up my car.

Strangest thing- the check engine light is now off! Is this normal? And I just took the car in for the state inspection, it passed! I was under the impression a car without a working secondary air injection pump can’t pass emissions. What is going on here??

The mechanic reset the CEL and it stayed off long enough for you to pass the smog test…Buy him a rack of his favorite beer and drive on…The air injection pump is NOT a critical item and replacing it can be deferred indefinitely, especially if the light stays off…

The secondary air injection pump introduces air into the exhaust stream.This air is what allows the catalytic converter to light off.

Without the secondary air being introduced the catalytic converter will eventually plug up.


Wow interesting. I may have save a thousand bucks. Didn’t know it wasn’t a critical item. My car does seem to run a little more sluggish now, thought it was the air injection pump but it really could be my imagination.

read further, I have a feeling this may get interesting…

Well crap, which is it? Absolutely needed or not? And why would the light turn off if it wasn’t truly fixed?

If the light remains off, drive on and save your money…Keep in mind you are driving an 18 year old car…The air pump is an emissions control device not related to driveability or performance…Tester is worried your catalytic converter might not function properly and plug up if the air-pump fails but this may or may not be true…Your tailpipe emissions are likely to be higher with a non-working pump, but since you just passed an emissions test and the light has not returned, I would assume there has been some sort of divine intervention and all is well in the Kingdom…But if you have 1 large burning a hole in your pocket, go ahead and make your mechanics next boat payment…

Once the problem reared it’s ugly head, it will return. But, you now have a year to shop around for a much better deal. Call around, google, and otherwise shop around for a more economical solution.

The secondary air pump only runs for 2 minutes just after starting a cold engine. Even less if the engine warms up quickly on a warm day. It pumps air into the exhaust stream when the engine is running rich.

The code does not check the operation of the pump, it only checks the oxygen sensor to see if it is detecting some oxygen in the stream during that two minute time, and it only checks for a few seconds.

The code can be tripped by a clogged line between the pump and the exhaust manifold, a clogged reed valve in that line, a loose vacuum line to the reed valve or a restriction in the duct molded in the exhaust manifold that directs the air into the exhaust stream.

Since the pumps work very little, they don’t usually go bad.

In spite of the fact that the air pumps don’t really operate that long on any given day, I’ve seen a fair number of bad pumps over the years

I’m talking about electric pumps that receive power and ground, but they just plain quit

And let’s not even begin talking about the older, belt-driven pumps