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Check Engine Light On

(2006 Toyota Camry)
in Montgomery Village, MD on February 21, 2009
I have had this car (bought new) for about 3 years. Last week, the "Check Engine" light came on. It has about 22,500 miles on the car. I have done the scheduled maintenance regularly.

Unfortunately, I live (temporarily) in a country that does not have a Toyota dealer (at least not yet).

A couple of questions:

1. Would a Lexus deal be able to diagnose the problem?

2. Where can I go to get a software/diag tool to decipher the code?

3. In a worst case scenario, what if I continue to drive my car until a Toyota dealer opens up here (hopefully, within the next 12 months)? Since some of the check engine light refers to emiision problem, would the continuing driving cause damage anything big?

Displaying 8 answers & 10 comments
Popular Answer
I am curious to know where you are living? If there is no Toyota dealer near you presently a Lexus dealer will certainly have the knowledge to "pull codes" and repair your car. A Check Engine light indicates an emission system failure that may be caused by a failed spark plug, failed ignition coil and items that will noticeably effect the way your car drives. Failure of other emission items may not have any noticeable effect on driveability. A flashing Check Engine light is a serious concern and indicates the car should not be driven, it indicates a more serious problem. I would suggest first ensure you are only using unleaded gas (leaded gas will damage the catalytic converter and air fuel ratio sensor), secondly I would buy a workshop manual and cheaper scan tool that can read OBD2 codes. There is a 16 pin socket that is common to every car manufacturer sold since around 1997, that allows you to access a lot of information. The connector is under the driver's side of the dash. It displays the cause of the check engine light illumination as a code for example P0420, or P1442, you then loo at a chart and see what that code represents. The best value scan tool for your use is probably the Equus 3100. I just saw one on EBAY
If you had a scan tool a workshop manual and some basic tools you should be able to travel anywhere in the world.
Oh my Korea, you are a long way away!
I am living and working in California but am from Ireland. The internet is a great resource. The computers are different between a Lexus and a Toyota but the scantool interface is the same (a 16 pin socket under the driver's side of the dash). I would suggest getting even a simple workshop manual or for about $30 a year you can subscribe to an online available manual from Also buy a cheap scan tool will give you peace of mind in knowing what system is giving a problem and being able to research the problem on line. If you are told you need a part for your car get the Toyota part number. I send parts back to my friends in England, Ireland and Scotland all the time once I have the right part number. Get the part number, get a family member or friend here to do some leg work and you may save some money on the part. If they can tell you the "code" that has brought on your Check Engine light, I can probably point you/them in the right direction in figuring out what is wrong. Evap system code and O2 sensor heater circuit code are most common on your car.
Its simple to replace the sensor, it is a sensor performance issue or the Check Engine light would have come on within a few minutes if it were 02 sensor heater circuit related.
I would replace the sensor
The O2 sensors are different front and rear, and the front sensors also are different from each other (the wiring harness is a different length).
There are generic O2 sensors that you can buy, cut off the wires on your sensor and solder onto the new sensor, they are cheaper but do not buy this type.
A sensor from Toyota, or the brands Nippon Denso, or NGK are the best and compatible with your car.
I am not sure if this question is new or old but I remember our conversations back in February. O2 sensors from and rear are different construction and although they may be physically inter changeable they are not. sensors are numbered B1 S1 (bank 1 Sensor one) that is the rear of the engine O2 sensor prior to Cat Convertor B1 S2 is after the cat converter for that bank of cylinders. Bank two is the front bank and sensor identification is similar. The sensors on any car may vary slightly use to cross reference the part for your car and the car you suspect to be close. On removal of your sensors there is a Denso part number prior to fitting a "new" sensor ensure it is an exact fit.
on February 22, 2009
Thanks, Pat.

The check engine light remains solid (not flashing, whew!). I am currently in Korea.

I have just made an appointment with the local Lexus dealer and hopefully, they wouldbe able to dignose the problem. When I called, they are not sure if the ECM is the same on Toyotas and Lexuses.

Hopefully, my cintinuing driving won'y cause any damage.
on February 23, 2009
The local Lexus dealer was very nice in helping me to identify the problem. Their testing kit worked with my Camry.

According to the testing kit, it is an oxygen sensor with the code of P2195. They even identified the exact sensor, Bank 1, Sensor 1.

I guess my next step is to order an oxygen sensor and hope someone in Korea can replace it for me.

on February 23, 2009
PS - The service department cleared the check engine light for me. I drove about 3 miles to work and the light did not come on.
on February 23, 2009
Thanks, Pat.

Another question for you -

Are all the O2 sensors for Camry the same? I noticed that some sensors in front of the catalytic converter and others go after.

How can I tell if Bank 1 in before or after the catalytic converter?
on October 07, 2009
Yes any lexus dealer would be able to fix your problem , however it might be quite costly. If you are getting a code p2195 , yes that does mean the oxygen sensor for bank 1 is reading lean .. That does not mean that the sensor itself is bad . You may have a vacumn leak somewhere causing false air entering the engine. also a dirty mass air flow sensor will create the same results.
on March 26, 2010
if your check engine light is on solid that means your vehicle has a problem with emission system or drivetrain (engine and transmission). if check engine light starts to flash that means you have a severe misfire and is causing major damage to your catalytic converter/converters and should not drive the vehicle at all, for example bad spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor cap, distributor rotor, ignition coil, fuel injecters, burnt cylinder valves, valves adjusted to tight.etc. i have experienced all of these problems in my experience. In your case the light is on (not flashing) which means you can drive your vehicle to a shop and get it diagnosed by a pro. You can buy an obd2 scan tool and pull the codes yourself but alot of times just because you have a code for a sensor does not mean the sensor is bad. So you could be spending your money on something that you should not.
on March 06, 2010
toyota's usually have 4 O2 sensors. 2 in front and 2 in back. if you do not replace them when they go bad it can ruin your cat converter. of teh 4 sensors 2 are called fuel/air ratrio sensors and cost more than a regular O2 sensor. you need to find a shop or go back to the Lexus dealer and ask them to fix this. Lexus should be able to fix a toyota. if your car is less than 36months old it should be under warranty still
on April 17, 2010
bank 1 is befor catalytic converter and when you open the hood front of the angine thar are egzost manifolt thar are o2 sensor btwen fan attach to agzost manifolt and some head shield around egzost manifolt that shield has 3 bold 10 mm sokket it well work un plug the wire on sensor use a 22 mm to lose sensor but before you do any thing use lubricant like dw40 if sensor dosent come lose lat egzost manifolt warm up after you take it of do evrythin bake worts... good luck
on March 22, 2011
do you use a Toyota scan tool to do DIY work? I have a Toyota Carola, and the airbag light goes on one month ago, then I am recommended to buy online a MINI VCI from, I am here give you a link for your reference. I think it's ok for me.
on January 05, 2011
I have a 1999 Infiniti. Check engine light came on. I have had several computer checks. All say "Catalytic converters need replaceing". I have had them replaced, had a tune up, and the light still is on. No dealer nor garage in this area can tell for sure what to do. Can you advise me what to do next?
on September 20, 2010
Anytime your check engine light comes on, there are two easy things that you can do before consulting a mechanic.
1) Tighten the gas cap. If the light remains on, go to the next step. Remove the gas cap, and inspect the o-ring. If it is dirty, wipe it and the gas tank sealing surface with a rag soaked in solvent (acetone /nail polish remover works great, but keep it away from painted surfaces!). If the o-ring is torn or deformed, buy a new gas cap. Be sure the gas cap in on tight and sealing the fuel tank. A leaky cap will activate the light.
2) Replace or vacuum the air filter. Even if the maintenance schedule says your air filter change is not due yet, if you just drove through a dust storm, it's due now! In some cases, only cleaning is required, I've seen otherwise OK air filters just clogged with dead leaves. In this case just vacuum and reinstall. A clogged air filter will activate the light. In most late model cars, no tools are required to change the air filter, it is just four hinged spring clips, and is so easy a child can do it. If it turns out the air filter isn't your problem, just put the old one back in and save the new one you've bought, you're going to need it someday.
These two problems are the cause of as much as 50% of all illuminated check engine lights.
on September 28, 2010
Thanks to all, who replied. I ended up buying a sensor from Taiwan and installing it by the Lexus dealer. Yes, it was a little bit more expensive; but I had no options since I am terrible with cars.

Thanks again.
on October 22, 2010
If you do find that the problem was the gas cap or the o-ring or the air filter, will the sensor light reset itself or do I have to go in and reset it myself? BTW, my problem is the engine light with a Hyundai Elantra 2005.

Thank you
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