Q. My 2009 1.3-litre Toyota Yaris, bought new, has done only 20,000 miles but recently needed a faulty oxygen sensor replaced. My dealer charged me more than £300. Is this expensive repair normal in a car with such low mileage? JS, via email
A. Your car might have a low mileage but it is six years old, so an oxygen sensor replacement is not abnormal. What’s more concerning is the price you paid.
The Yaris has a pair of oxygen sensors, placed in the exhaust pipe before and after the catalytic converter. They gather a stream of data about the composition of the exhaust fumes. This allows the car’s computer to calculate how much more or less fuel is needed for optimum performance and the lowest emissions.
Although it’s normal for parts from a franchised dealer to cost more, £300 is on the high side for a replacement. A high-quality aftermarket part would cost £75-£100, depending on the exact engine specification, while labour costs should be low — fitting could take as little as 10 minutes. Even if there’s a problem with, say, removal of the faulty sensor, a garage will have the equipment to deal with it in less than half an hour.
This sort of high pricing is one reason owners tend to drop out of the dealer system and into the care of independents as their cars get older. Next time you have a problem, consider finding a knowledgeable independent garage via an online forum such asyarisclubuk.com, toyotaownersclub.com or yarisworld.com.
Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.
GOT A PROBLEM?
Email your question to email@example.com or write to Car Clinic, Driving, The Sunday Times, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF, with a daytime phone number,
your address and as much detail about your car as possible. We can’t reply in person, so don’t send original documents or SAEs. Advice is given without legal responsibility.