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Consumer Assistance

2001 Toyota Sienna Tampered Emission System

I have reason to believe a Toyota Sienna I purchased has been tampered with. The check engine light should be on and it isn't. I purchased this vehicle from a business recently who hasn't returned my calls after telling them this information came up on a failed smog test. They were upset I'd taken it somewhere else instead of letting them do the smog check. Where can I take it to see if the light or anything have been tampered with? The light doesn't come on at all when I start the car. It also failed due to a trouble code and I am aware, per the vehicle repair history, that it had an oxygen sensor replaced, and yesterday via the BAR Smog Check History, it failed the smog test 5 times, 2.5 years ago.


We'd recommending having a smog check repair station conduct a smog check failure diagnosis to find out the root cause of your vehicle's smog failure. Having a trouble code present will simplify the diagnosis a great deal, in that, it will allow a technician to first inspect the system responsible for triggering the trouble code. Having the check engine light not illuminated is a problem. The check engine light should turn on when the vehicle is in the Key On Engine Off state. Once the engine has started, the check engine light should turn off, unless a trouble code is present. If none of this is happening, the problem could be as simple as a defective CEL light bulb.

It should be noted, if the business you purchased the vehicle from is a used car dealer, they were responsible for having the vehicle smog checked and is necessary, repaired in ordered to get a passing smog inspection. If you took it upon yourself to do the inspection, you'll need to speak with them to reach an amicable agreement. The DMV's investigators are at your disposal should you believe something is not on the up-and-up.

If you bought the vehicle through a private party transaction, once again, the seller was responsible for the smog inspection, but at times the buyer agrees to take on the smog responsibility for a lesser price on the vehicle or not. It doesn't let the seller of the "smog check" hook, but usually in a small case court setting, a judge will not lean on one side or the other since an agreement existed between the two parties. This is not legal advise, only what we've learned over an extensive period of time.

We'd recommend obtaining an actual diagnosis of what problem(s) the vehicle has from a smog check certified auto repair station and then approaching the seller to find a solution which will take up the least amount of your time and money.

posted by SmogTips Support

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