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Why does the engine light keep coming on in my 2010 Holden Barina?

Asked by Philip

I have a 2010 Holden Barina with 52,000km. I bought this car new in 2010. It has been regularly serviced and I have always used BP Ultimate 98-octane fuel in it. The problem I have is the engine light keeps coming on and has been doing so for about two years now. The car has been checked by a Holden dealer and a number of items have been replaced (coil-pack, leads, spark plugs). Now they think it may be the valves and want to do a $2500 head recondition. They said it could be build-up on the valves. For a car with very low milage this sounds like rubbish to me.

Are there any known issues with this model that could be causing this problem?

Answered by CarsGuide

26 Oct 2020 David Morley

A build up of carbon deposits (a by-product of burning petrol) is, indeed, a known fault with this engine. If it occurs, it can create the precise symptom you’re seeing (the check-engine light) but can also lead to an erratic idle and misfiring. There have also been cases where this engine has developed wear in the exhaust valve and valve-seat region, with similar end results. Unfortunately, the only fix is to remove the cylinder head and replace both the exhaust valves and their seats.

I agree that 52,000km is a depressingly low mileage for problems like these to occur, so you need to make absolutely sure it really is the cause before you start to tear into the engine. A leak-down and compression test may throw some light on things, as can an electronic scan of the car. A fault-code of P0300 is a big clue that the exhaust valves are at the centre of the problem. This model Barina was another Holden that was simply a re-badged South Korean-built Daewoo with all that implies.


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