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How Do I Fix Code P0442? “Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected” 

How Do I Fix Code P0442

If you're looking for how do I fix code P0442, you can first try tightening or replacing the fuel cap. If it didn't work, you must visit the nearest repair shop where they use smoke test to detect any leak locations within the EVAP system. 

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The check engine light is one of the most critical warning signs any driver should not ignore. While it might be related to a simple issue, it also can indicate a very complicated problem requiring immediate attention; otherwise, it might cause undesirable outcomes. 

The EVAP system is responsible for trapping any harmful vapors from the fuel system and preventing them from entering the environment. 

The P0442 code is one of the very common codes that you might deal with, which indicates an issue with the EVAP system leak.

This article provides you with all that you need to know about the P0442 code in terms of the definition, the repair options, the diagnostics, and the repair costs. 

What is the P0442 code definition? 

The P0442 code indicates that there is an issue with the Evaporative emission control system. Usually, this code does not occur separately. Other EVAP system codes accompany it. 

By definition, the P0442 code means Evaporative emission control system leak detected (small leak).”

Whenever you see this code, the problem indicates that there is a leak in the EVAP system. The Evaporative control system usually monitors the EVAP system and will throw an error whenever the system has any leaks or any abnormal behavior. 

Immediately once a small leak occurs in the EVAP system, your vehicle will throw an error displayed as a check engine light. 

What is the EVAP system? 

When we say that the P0442 code indicates a problem with the EVAP system, it is crucial to understand the main purpose of this EVAP system.

This system was introduced to vehicles back in 1970 where the California State required installing it in vehicles to prevent any hydrocarbon vapors from making their way to the atmosphere.

The system is responsible for capturing these papers and allowing them to go through certain vents and certain path lines. 

In modern EVAP systems, the system can minor leaks as small as 0.02 inches only! Older systems could not detect this issue, which resulted in many complications in the system as the driver wasn't able to detect the problem early enough. 

What are the primary causes for the P0442 code? 

Although fluid leaks in any vehicle can be a little challenging because it's hard to find the exact location of the leak when the check engine light illuminates due to a P0442 code, the problem is related to one of the following causes: 

  • Problems with the purge valve for the vent
  • Leak in the fuel tank
  • Leaks in the EVAP system lines
  • Loose fuel caps
  • Leaks in the charcoal canister
  • Malfunction in the FTP sensor 
  • Issues with the detection pump 

How do I know if it's a P0442 code? Symptoms of the P0442 code 

The unique thing about this error code is that you'll notice certain symptoms confirming that the problem comes from some leaks in the EVAP system. 

As a driver, the first thing you will notice is a check engine light illuminating. Keep in mind that the check engine light eliminates due to many reasons, and unless you have an OBDII scanner, you won't tell where the problem is coming from.

The OBDII scanner is basically a small scanner that you can plug into your vehicle's computer, and it will read any errors in the car. Once it scans the errors, they will display an error code on the screen indicating where the problem is coming from. In some advanced OBDII scanners, the tool might even provide you with suggestions and recommendations about options and repair costs, a more intuitive explanation.

You don't need to have an advanced, expensive OBDII scanner to understand that the problem is coming from the EVAP system. By just getting the error codes, you can search on Google for the meaning of this code. Once you see the P0442 code, you should by now understand where it's coming from. 

Another less common symptom indicating that there is a P0442 code is some fuel orders. This symptom is not very common, and it might be associated with other issues in the car, so by just noticing fuel order, you can't really tell it's a P0442 problem. 

Is the P0442 code available in every vehicle?

No, the P0442 code is not available in every vehicle’s library. For example, comment modern Toyota’s do not have this error.

P0442 code diagnostics: How do I fix the P0442 code?  

As we indicated earlier, the best and most accurate way to determine whether your vehicle has a P0442 code or not is by using an OBDII scanner.

Before you even use the scanner, it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and tighten the fuel cap because it might be the first and primary reason for triggering this code.

If this didn't work, you might need to look closely and see whether the fuel cap is broken or missing where you need to install or purchase a new one. 

Remember that tightening or replacing the fuel cap clears out the error code because you must clear it manually.

If adjusting or fixing the fuel cap did not help, your next step is to perform a thorough inspection and detect any symptoms of leaks around the EVAP system.

One quick way is to perform a visual inspection and see any signs of disconnected hoses or broken connections. However, when the leak is very fine, it can be extremely challenging to determine where the leak is coming from.

That's why we advise whenever you can detect what's causing the P0442 quote is to visit the nearest repair shop. Sometimes the repair shop itself might not have the best equipment to diagnose the EVAP system fully. Advanced repair shops usually use smoke pumping through the ABAP system, which can be extremely handy in detecting very fine or small leaks. 

Keep in mind that there is a long list of possible causes for triggering the P0442 code, and that's why fixing this code should not be done at home unless it's related to a simple issue like a loose fuel cap. 

How much does it cost to fix a small EVAP leak or P0442 code? 

Since the problem might be related to plenty of reasons, repairing them might cost you somewhere from $0.00 to $580.

If the issue is coming from a loose fuel cap, you can simply tighten it and pull your day.

However, if it's coming from somewhere else, parts only might cost you somewhere between $150 and $440. On the other hand, labor costs can range between $35 to $140.00 depending on the location where you get the job done.

While many drivers prefer to get this job done at the small repair shop where labor cost can be extremely cheap, others prefer to get it done at a dealership where they are confident that the dealership has the required toolsets and are very familiar with fixing certain vehicles models.

It's very rare to hear about someone fixing the P0442 code at home because it requires certain equipment, and it's not something you can take care of by yourself without having this equipment. Thus, trying DIYs might not be the best idea when dealing with a P0442 code. 

Can I drive my car with a P0442? 

The P0442 cold does not have any clear thing to do with your vehicle's drivability. You'll still drive your car just fine, but you might notice a slight reduction in the field economy.

Since the P0442 code is not usually noticeable other than the check engine light illuminating, many people delay taking care of it unless they are forced to.

For example, a driver might ignore fixing the P0442 code unless his car does not pass the emission test, where he must get rid of this error code.

Although it's not going to affect your vehicle's drivability, fixing the P0442 codes should be a priority because by allowing harmful vapors to reach the environment, you can harm yourself and the people around you. 

How do I detect an EVAP leak? 

As we indicated before, the best way to confirm the leak's location in the EVAP system is by using the smoke test. In the stomach task, all I need to do is pump some smoke through the EVAP system and notice where it might leak. 

For example, the leak might be coming from the hoses, tubes, seals, valves, etc. 

Can an EVAP leak cause misfire? 

In some severe scenarios, yes. However, engine misfire can be linked to a long list of problems ranging from an issue with the fuel injectors, problems with the fuel pressure, troubles in the ignition coil, etc.

That's why it's hard to tell when the misfire happens, whether it's related to the EVP leak or something else. 

Will the P0442 code clear itself after fixing the problem? 

Usually, the check engine light illumination should be cleared out by itself if the problem is very simple. However, you might need to reset the code and cleared out from the vehicle's internal computer in some scenarios.

Note that when the check engine light illuminates and fixes the problem, it might take about 20 to 30 successful cycles before your check engine light goes away. So, do not expect that the check engine light will be cleared immediately after tightening the fuel cap. Give it a couple of cycles and see what happens. 

Can AutoZone reset check engine lights? 

Yes. Just to clarify here, while the check engine light might go away after fixing the problem, your vehicle's internal computer will still have the error stored in it.

Therefore, you will still need to go inside the vehicle's computer and clear out this code. Therefore, many drivers prefer going to AutoZone to get the check engine light cleared out from any old errors. This way, they don't get confused with any new errors happening to the vehicle. 

Is it worth fixing the P0442 code? 

Of course! Fixing the P0442 code is an essential step if you want your vehicle to pass the emission test. It's also a more ethical perspective for any driver to prevent releasing harmful vapors to the environment.

However, if your car is beyond repairs and has added further complications, you might need to set that and evaluate whether spending also a couple of $100 fixing A P0442 code or not. 

If you notice that repair costs are getting close to 75% or more from your vehicle's value, it might not be worth fixing it, and instead, you should consider selling it and using the payment towards a better car. 


P0442 code indicates a leak in the EVAP system, which means that the system is no longer trapping any harmful vapors from the fuel, and they might leak to the environment.

When this code is triggered, you need to determine the primary culprit behind the issue. In simple scenarios, the issue could be related to a loose fuel cap, and it can be as complicated as it will significantly leak in the path lines and the tubes.

Whatever the cause for the P0442 code, the problem must be taken care of immediately to prevent further complications.

If your part suffers from additional issues, not only those related to the P0442 code but also even more complications, it might be the right time to evaluate whether it's worth selling your car to Cash Cars Buyer.

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