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post #1 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Check Engine Light

As I was driving home last night from work, I looked down and the check engine light was on. I pulled over into a shopping center and got out the manual. One thing that I thought was strange was the it says that in some states it is a law that you have to call for service if the check engine light comes on.

A bit of background: I live in Virginia and work in Maryland and travel about 35 miles one way. I bought the car in Tysons Corner, Va 7 days ago.

So, I called the dealership that I bought the car from and left messages. It was around 6:30pm. I then called the 1800smartcar for roadside assistance and the gentleman got some information and connected me to another dealership that was real close to me in Germantown, MD. He said as long as there wasn't any real shaking or the light was flashing it would be OK to drive to the dealership.

He did ask about the gas cap and if I had filled up recently. I did fill up on Monday and had driven about 100 miles before the light came on. I tighted the cap while the gentleman was on the phone but it made no difference with the light.

When I got to the dealship the sales guy opened and closed the gas cap and could not see anything wrong with the car. He said this was the third time he has seen a check engine light. Of course, at this late time there wasn't anyone in the shop and with the smart cars they do not offer loaner cars like they do with Mercedes. So, I drove it home and back and did not feel any different. The mechanic spent about an hour on it. He cleared the light and said it was a purge sensor and had to do with the fuel. He said since these are so new he could do a proper diagnostic and did do a visual inspection of the fuel lines which looked fine. So, I drove it to work with no problem. I am curious if this will effect my gas milage...
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post #2 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 10:04 AM
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Check Engine Light - Secondary Air System Fault

while foraging for coffee last monday morning my 'engine malfunction light' came on as i completed a left turn with 975 miles on the odometer. i coasted to a stop and popped out my owners manual, which informed me of my legal obligation to drive immediately to an authorized smart car service center.

not being a scofflaw, i drove over to the beverly hills mb/smart dealer, which took my car in at 7am and by 4:30 pm had informed me that my smartie needed to have its 'combination valve for secondary air system' replaced, and that my car would have to spend the night in the service department.

they called me around 9:30 am the following morning and told me my car was ready to be picked up.

reading the repair order reveals a series of diagnostic tests and inspections on purge valves, temp sensors, and the air pump, finally locating the faulty combination valve.

at no point in time while the engine malfunction light was on could i discern any abnormal operation of my smartie, everything appeared to work fine as i drove to the dealer. there was no charge for the repair.

in addition to that indicated repair, they also performed a 'cs001 recall - PRND cable lock inspection' which seems to have resulted in a 'PDI enhancement, remove shifter, check cable'. i have noticed an improved feel to the gear selector movement, which now has a more defined selection of each position. previously i would occasionally land just outside of a position without fully engaging it. now the 'fall' into each postion is quite defined. whether this is the intent of the repair, i could not say.

(here the bevhills service advisor and mechanic are writing up my smartie)
(note the complimentary coffee/espresso bar to the left...)

(and i spied in the service department a really cute 20-something girl-mechanic named gabby! how cute she was in her mechanics uniform and big boots and her dirty-blonde hair pulled up in a ponytail! meow!)

Last edited by La Petit; 02-20-2008 at 12:29 PM.
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post #3 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 10:22 AM
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I hope the dealerships are talking about these issues. I test drove on saturday and teh shifter stuck. The saleswoman had to force it into place and informed me that it was happing lately. I told her about the issues online and she said she had not heard anything yet. This worries me.
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post #4 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 08:04 PM
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Engine Light

I picked up my car from the Manhattan dealer last week, as I was driving it off the dealer lot, I got an engine light. Salesman told me to reset the gas cap, and give it an hour or so. But alas that did not do the trick.

I brought the car into the service department, and after running diagnostics, they told me that they needed to drop the fuel tank and replace the fuel sensor.

Now I have to bring it back because I am getting a terrible rattle that sounds like it is coming from the passenger door.

I love the car, but too many dealer visits already. We will see.
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post #5 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 08:18 PM
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you might try different fuel. It may not be the same situation but I had a 91 300ZX that would only run on Chevron supreme - any other gas, even supreme, the check engine light would come on and stay on till I put Chevron preme in the tank and ran a few miles. ?? might be worth a try.
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post #6 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 10:39 PM
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"I hope the dealerships are talking about these issues."

Spot on, Jedi. smart built a totally connected, networked dealer system. They should be reporting constantly, and cyber-meeting weekly.

If the factory's work isn't perfect, the service better be.

They're flying techs to Vegas, getting it done in BevHills, and some are just opening their doors. They'll have a lot to catch up on, if they're not in on the national smart-information loop.

Seattle and Portland seem to be the lonely dealer voices on this forum, and I doubt that any other forum sees others (?)

Le Petit, you get Five Gold Stars for an excellent post. I can almost smell the coffee... sounds like they're getting into the smart service groove.

(scryfst: Bet you a nickel it's not the gas.)
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post #7 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 11:22 AM
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The diagnostic systems in the smart are extremely sensitive. It is a little scary when the light comes on (especially in a brand new car with a couple hundred miles on it), but it IS a good thing. I’m reminded of when I got my first car, a 1978 Cadillac Cpe Deville, and my father said, “Check the fluids every time you fill up because if the [idiot] light comes on, it’s too late!” I have lived by that warning ever since. Today, cars are equipped to let us know when anything is even a little out of tolerance so that we can get the car to the dealer before a bigger problem occurs. I’m sure everyone would agree that it is better to have a light come on, and it turns out to be nothing, than to have a major problem happen without warning.

As for communication between dealers and smart, I have never worked with a brand that had better communication policy or a faster response time to technical inquiries (yes, you can quote me on that). We receive daily bulletins and updates on all issues. I will refrain from going on a rant about specifics, but smart USA has gone above and beyond on several instances, all with complete customer (and dealer) satisfaction as the goal. I have been assured that they will continue to work on reservation holder communication so that it improves as well.
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post #8 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 07:31 AM
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So what happened

did La P* get the girl, what was with all the flashing lights...
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post #9 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 09:05 AM
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Got another check engine light story.

First one was right after filling up. Tighened the cap, turned the car off and on and all was well.

The light came back on Friday afternoon (seems to always happen on the weekends, doesn't it!). No problems driving, so I kept going until Monday when I dropped it off at Beverly Hills Mercedes (BTW, one of the nicest and most expensive shops I've ever dealt with). Free espresso, free shuttle. I'll have to check out the blonde mechanic. Told them about the light and asked about any shifter work that might be needed. The intake gal knew about the service bulletin, and would check to see if my car needed it. Since I was the fifth delivery ever, it probably wasn't checked at PDI.

Got a call back later that a part (fuel valve?) had to be ordered. Its a standard MB part, so they have it at their regular place (not coming from smart). Sounds like the same fuel intake work seen above.

I'm supposed to get the car back this afternoon. I'll update when I pick it up. In the meantime I'm at the mercy of the spouse and the bus to get back to Beverly Hills.

UPDATE: Sorry this took so long, I was waiting for the paperwork from BH Benz.

Turns out they had to pull the gas tank and replace a part. The part came and I had the car by three the next day (so 24 hours total turn around). Even got the car washed before pick-up. Here's a copy of the service order.

Last edited by spdickey; 03-03-2008 at 05:38 PM.
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post #10 of 239 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 09:17 AM
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This post has me very nervous. If anything goes wrong I will have to schlep back to Laguna Niguel which is 50+ miles away. I know, after reading about owners who are driving hundreds of miles I have no room to complain but I really am lazy and don't want to make the trek. Hopefully the Torrance dealer will open long before I need any service (I'm knocking on wood).

Last edited by skyzdlimit59; 02-26-2008 at 09:17 AM. Reason: spelling
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