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Q: Need advice on 2003 Saturn L300

CHECK engine light came on - codes checked - was told temp sensor or thermostat. Got 2nd opinion -told me thermostat stuck open - made appt to be fixed. Next day , about 30 minutes of driving - on way to service shop the SERVICE engine light came on, (so now both lights are on) I slowed down (on expressway mind you) and then when trying to accelerate the car was like hesitating - pulled over to shoulder turned car off waited for about 1 min. Cranked car and the SERVICE engine light went off but CHECK engine light remained on . Made it almost to the service shop (at stoplight - so at a complete stop) SERVICE engine light comes on again with the hesitating. Told repair shop all of this and so they said I needed a tune up also. Since it was there I told them to change my front brake pads and change rotars. After thermostat fixed and tune up with new spark plugs and need a boot for plugs 2 4 & 6 , along with new brakes and rotors, I'm feeling pretty good about my car even though I paid about $630 for all this. The CHECK engine light is off and doesn't come on any more but later on the way home last night the dang blasted SERVICE engine light comes on again (noticed it does this after the car has been running about 30 min) along with the hesitation. I'm just about undone!!! This morning , took car to different shop because my shop is closed on Sat. and they tell me that they were able to read codes in memory (because of course the SERVICE light won't come on for them). Got codes of P0403 - EGR solenoid circuit problem and P0405 - EGR sensor "A signal"/ Low. They recommended EGR valve replacement and cleaning of ports. My question is after paying for all of this stuff and the repair shop telling me that doing this tune up and replacing the boot is going to solve my SERVICE soon light problem. What should i do? I feel that placed that supposedly repaired my car mis-diagnosed my problem and think that they should eat the cost of this new part and labor. I don't have any more money to spend on hit and miss. Please help!!!
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Whenever the check engine light comes on, a code is stored in the engine control module, and the first time you had the vehicle at the shop, did they note down which code was stored?
A service reminder light can come on and that is indicating that a service is due, so I can see a shop recommending a service based on the vehicle mileage, but this is different than an emissions warning light and a driveability issue.
The second shop seems to be more interested in actually diagnosing and fixing your problem, unlike the first which was more interested in selling a tune-up. This second shop seems to be on the right track, however I'm not sure a plugged EGR valve is going to cause a hesitation, but if it was stuck open it could.
I suggest you see what code was pulled by the first shop, then you can better make your case that they misdiagnosed the problem.
response to bretb - the CHECK ENGINE codes they pulled said I need a thermostat or a temp sensor. I knew I needed that because I had a shop tell me that about a month ago. I also asked them to check the
SERVICE ENGINE codes but they never said what the codes were on this except for a tune up should clear up the problem. Took car back to original shop (for the 4th time) and they cleaned the ports, did not change the egr valve and on the way home car did same thing again. UGH!! I am taking it back for the 5th time tomorrow because I feel they need to correct the problem and I don't have more money to take it to a new shop. I will just make sure that once they correct it - not to go there again.
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