Honda Civic LX 2001 exhaust visible smoke

Discussion in 'Civic' started by John, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. John

    John Guest

    This car has failed NJ emission testing. I took it to my
    regular mechanic and he said he saw a bit of smoke when the
    car first started, but nothing much. He doesn't have a
    state reinspection license so he sent me elsewhere. Elsewhere
    told me the same thing. A bit of smoke at start up, none
    revving. And it passed the 3 second rule. i.e. it did not
    last 3 seconds. I don't know if this is an "official" rule.
    He said he didn't see anything really wrong, but it is his
    brother that has the reinspection license, and he is off
    this week.

    I got restless. I took it to another place. Their assessment:
    $350 + tax. Have to take off the valve cover and replace the
    PCV valve. This didn't ring true to me, so I declined. They
    then proceeded to charge me for 1 hour of diagnosis: $85 + tax.
    I feel ripped off just for that.

    I've since begun calling certified reinspection sites, and
    asking them what they would charge to diagnose it. A half
    hour of diagnosis is common. About $45. Not $90.

    Tonight I pulled out my Haynes Repair Manual when I looked
    at the engine and could not find the PCV valve. Aha! Tucked
    down below. I read about its function and replacement. A
    few hoses, squeeze one to hear the ball function, replace
    if not functioning. It also takes air from the air filter.
    It sure sounds like this should have been looked at and tried
    first. No mention of needing to take the valve cover off to
    do this!

    One more fact: In NJ you can be required to spend up to $400
    to remedy emission failure. Hmmm. $350 + tax = just under $400.

    I'm leaning toward getting a new air filter and PCV valve,
    the hoses if necessary, and trying to get through inspection
    again. Think that will do it?

    And what is the consensus here:

    Was I ripped off for a full hour of diagnosis?

    Would I have been ripped off with a $350 valve cover removal
    and PCV valve extortion, I mean, replacement?

    John, Aug 25, 2010
  2. John

    Tinkerer Guest

    On this side of the pond it is quite common to have an oil change carried
    out immediately before an emission test is due, if the engine is a bit iffy,
    and it apparently makes a substantial improvement in the result.
    Tinkerer, Aug 28, 2010
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