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The Toyota Corolla is a line of subcompact and compact cars manufactured by Toyota. Introduced in 1966, the Corolla was the best-selling car worldwide by 1974 and has been one of the best-selling cars in the world since then. In 1997, the Corolla became the best selling nameplate in the world, surpassing the Volkswagen Beetle.

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1999 Toyota Corolla p0441 & p0446 codes. How to begin trouble-shooting

I have a 1999 Corolla, 226,000, 1.8L automatic. Check engine light came on recently indicating p0441 & through a second OBD reading (I was curious) at a different store indicated p0441 AND p0446. I bought a new gas cap as I suspect it was overdue (could smell gas). Suggested replacement for the p0441 code from one auto discount chain said likely solution is “replace Vacuum Switching Valve (VSV). I recently replaced my front end brakes (drums, rotors, calipers) and purchased 2 new tires - seemed reasonable (yet big ticket item) and fit my cars replacement timeline for these repairs. I intend to change out PCV valve as it’s probably overdue too.

My question is how can I, if possible, begin to trouble-shoot this issue on my own? The car is going into the mechanics (reliable) in about a week. My concern is that this possible fix (via the mechanic) could be pricey (charcoal canister, etc.). Also, I don’t fill up the tank (about 3/4) due to leak when filled to tippy top. My mechanic is aware of this and has said 3/4 tank (max) is fine. I suspect that this may be the definite beginning of the end for this car. If those codes had popped up prior to my brakes having been replaced, I think I would have nixed the whole thing and junked the car. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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Based on your full description, I believe your check engine codes are directly related to the gas leak that occurs when filling the tank. There is a leak somewhere in the gas tank towards the top or something connected to it that when addressed will likely solve the issue. The fuel tank is supposed to be pressurized which is why we start with a faulty gas cap as it is the easiest and cheapest to change. If the leak is bad enough that gas can come out or you smell gas, then there is no way the tank can maintain proper pressure. Code P0441 means the EVAP system is not able to do its job in preventing fuel vapors to escape into the atmosphere. There may be other issues compounding, but as long as the vehicle runs okay, I would only address the gas leak and then address the engine codes one by one at a later date.

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Thanks Matarazz. I wondered about the tank, thus my mentioning it. Am I correct in thinking that the only potential solution to this EVAP issue is to replace the tank (which I am not willing to do) which would correct the tank pressure? I asked my mechanic about this when this tank issue first arose but he said to do so would be akin to opening Pandora's box (so, no). Then again, I've been driving the car in that condition for some time without any issues or codes showing up. I've maintained the car (fluids, oil changes, etc.) and it still runs well (no engine probs, really good mph for its age). I'm wondering if there could be other replacements aside from the tank that could be the culprit or if it is the leak at the very top that's causing the codes. I guess for me, knowing when enough is enough for any mechanical/electronic piece seems to be a guessing game. Thanks for your feedback.

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@kahgroos No, I wouldn't say the only solution is to replace the tank. There may only be a loose or cracked hose going to the EVAP system or something simple. Maybe the leak was so minor initially that the EVAP system was still able to function and now after some time the leak has become larger and can no longer be maintained. Replacing the fuel tank is basically the same process as replacing a fuel pump and while this COULD cause problems with wiring and hoses considering the age of your vehicle, this is not an uncommon job for a mechanic. It isn't very likely that there is an issue with the tank itself, more so something connected to it.

Personally, I would not drive a vehicle with a leaky fuel tank or fuel system. That could spell disaster one day if left go. The engine codes shouldn't stop you from driving so my recommendation here is to address the fuel leak at minimum.

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Yes, thanks. It's going in next week (earliest avail). Good to know wrt hoses, lines, etc. I did review in Haynes but given that I don't have the space nor equipment to check this stuff myself (plus it would help to shadow someone), I'll have to defer to mechanic. Agreed, I want this issue corrected (safety first) and deal with the codes. Gas cap replacement was the first code to show, so I replaced (and gas smell went away). Then the next code was p0441 (read at one auto disc. chain). A few days later I went for second reading at totally different chain and got both p0441 and p0446. Will see what the mechanic finds. Whatever the solution, it will be a bridge to a newer vehicle. Thanks again.

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@kahgroos Please let me know what the mechanic finds. I would appreciate it. I agree with your last line. After so many years of operation, there needs to be a point where you cut your losses and buy a new or newer vehicle. This one will eventually "nickle and dime" you to the point where it is no longer cost effective unless you can diagnose and perform the repairs yourself.

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Will do wrt findings. The car served me well for many, many years & I had a generally low-cost upkeep. Plus it helps that I have a mechanic who doesn't price-gouge me or tries to sell me fictitious repairs (I've had that happen or attempts to happen repeatedly over the years/decades from other mechanics). My guy, these guys/gals are a rarity; he doesn't sell/hard-sell and will be forthright with info. Thus my need to continue educating myself especially wrt autos particularly (or any device). Thankfully, due to sites like ifixit & others, things such as info., data availability, forums, continue to change and open the field. It's all about being smart, analytic and helpful (shared data). But with my particular auto problem, yes, knowing when to let go is also a smart, key decision. I will admit, it can be tricky in thinking, one more thing to fix... but ultimately, I have no intention in throwing money at it. Again Matarazz, thanks to you and the field for feedback on all issues posted.

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