CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Time for new car?

Is it time for a new car? I tried passing the NC emissions inspection today with my 2000 Cadillac SLS and failed due to the follow diagnostic trouble codes: P0101 (Mass Air Flow Circuit Range); P0327 (Knock sensor 1 circuit low input); P0741 (Torque Converter clutch circuit performance). Please help?!!!

Was your check engine light on when you went in for the test? Has it been on any time in the past couple of months? If not, you should not have any trouble codes. If so, why didn’t you get the car fixed? These seem sufficiently different that you should have had your CEL on for quite a while. I’m not familiar with NC. Does a state facility test your car, or do they have local repalr shops do the test?

Get an estimate for repairs and then decide. Typically it is cheaper to repair than replace.

Thanks for your quick response. Yes, the CEL stays on…when living in FL, I was advised that these same types of diagnostics wouldn’t affect the performance of the vehicle and would normally call for a major transmission overhaul (P0741). And yes, state-approved facilities test the car. I guess it was a bad idea to go to Jiffy Lube; I should have waited another day to go to a repair shop that could reset the DTCs until the inspection passed.

Do you think it’s time for a new car?

Thanks for your quick response. Yes, the CEL stays on…when living in FL, I was advised that these same types of diagnostics wouldn’t affect the performance of the vehicle and would normally call for a major transmission overhaul (P0741). And yes, state-approved facilities test the car. I guess it was a bad idea to go to Jiffy Lube; I should have waited another day to go to a repair shop that could reset the DTCs until the inspection passed.

Do you think it’s time for a new car?

Thanks for the quick response. I got estimates today for the knock sensor (350+) and torque converter (3300+). I was told that the torque converter issue is common with Cadillacs. I don’t think I want to rebuild the transmission right now but may consider repairs < 1000. I just don’t want this to be the beginning of the money drain for this car.

I just don’t want this to be the beginning of the money drain for this car.

Money drain or normal wear replacement. It is only a different name. I would suggest that many people who sell off their car and buy something newer end up spending a lot more money than it would have cost to keep the original car.

Seems to me you have two choices; fix the car or replace it. It won’t pass the test with the light on, and if it won’t pass the test you won’t be able to drive it, and trying to trick the computer by resetting it won’t work.

By the way, NEVER go to a quickie oil change place, even to ask directions. All you will get is trouble.

Where did you get the estimates? If it’s a Cadillac dealer, you could try a different shop. Maybe an independent transmission specialist for the transmission and a good independent shop for the rest. $3300 sounds like a new transmission to me. You might also ask the next shop if they could find a surplus replacement transmission if they have a reliable source. Ask friends, relatives, and coworkers for recommendations on a transmission shop and general repair shop.