Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Toyota Corolla Codes PO171, PO441, or PO455
Yesterday, I had another experience with a customer owning a Toyota Corolla getting the rapidly popular PO171, PO441, and or PO455. This was a favorite customer of mine. She’s been bringing her car in to Nilson Brothers Garage since shortly after I came to work here in 1976. Imogene is in her eighties now with a 2009 Corolla which she had told me would be her last car.
Imogene pops open her driver’s door as I approach and eases out of the car carefully. She only puts about two thousand miles a year on her car, so I haven’t seen her since the end of 2010. She’s one of those people that tests your ability to take verbal jabs. When she finds out you can, she’ll fire a few over your bow at a moment’s notice. This was my moment.
“Wow, Bernie… you managed to keep the weight off. Your face looks gaunt. Eat a sandwich for God’s sake.”
I laugh because when she saw me back in 2010 I’d just lost the fifty extra pounds I had been hauling around after the Achilles Tendon injury I had in 2007. Her first statement back then after I’d been gaining the weight gradually was:‘You look kind of bloated. Do you have a water retention problem?’ Then in 2010, she wasted no time after seeing my drastically trimmed down form to offer me her doctor’s phone number to get checked out for cancer. If anything on me is out of place I can rely on Imogene to point it out to me, including but not limited to smudges, faded work clothes, or even my normally close cropped hair touching my ears. Imogene probably weighs around a hundred pounds and can’t be much over five feet tall. I don’t fire rounds back anyway. I don’t talk back to my elders. Besides, she’s funny. :)
“It’s staying off too, Imogene. It takes too much torture to get the weight down. What brings you in today, fluid and tire pressure check? I haven’t seen you for a while.” She usually comes in a few times a year so I can check her car’s vitals out. It’s a free service I do for any of my customers uncomfortable about doing it themselves, mostly so if they’re lax about doing it, I won’t get blamed.
“My check engine light came on yesterday. You can do the other stuff too though. I spent some time with my daughter in Arizona so my little Toyota didn’t get out much.”
I had a half hour before my next appointment so Imogene has chosen the right time to drive in. “I have the heater on in the office. Go on in and I’ll check things out for you.”
“Don’t get grease on my seat,” she reminds me on the way to the office.
I smile while putting my seat cover on and my floor protector down. Yeah, that’ll happen. If I ever got grease on her seat, Imogene would make sure she lived to a hundred or my expiration date so I would be dutifully reminded of my carelessness. Plugged into my notebook computer scanner interface, the infamous PO171 (lean system, bank one) and PO441 (evaporative purge flow) show up. I’ve seen these before. I quickly print out the Tech Service Bulletin for Imogene to take with her to the dealer, and check her fluid levels and tire pressures.
In the office, Imogene’s staring at my family picture from Christmas. Uh oh… it’s the one with my black eye from playing basketball I got according to my family just so as to ruin the holiday photos. She does a deliberate pirouette finger pointing at the picture. She was waiting for me, the little…
“Joyce finally clocked your disrespectful ass, huh?”
Why fight it. “Yep, I nagged her once too often at Thanksgiving and she tuned me up.”
Imogene chortles appreciatively. “Okay, so what’s wrong?”
I hand her the printout. “Bad news is you’ll have take this in to the dealer and get the Engine Control Computer replaced. The good news is they’ll probably give you a loaner and it will be free. I’ve already had two other customers with the same thing. Toyota took care of them right away.”
“Damn! I hate going over there.”
“I could do it for you. The cost would be astronomical, but I’m here to please.”
Imogene heads for the door. “I’m old, not stupid. Don’t retire.”
“I’ll make a note. Nice seeing you too, Imogene.” And it was.
Here’s the PDF link for the Tech Service Bulletin for any of you folks out there with a 2009 Toyota Corolla: