Perry’s Question: My 2003 Spectra rattles when I go over bumps. It rides OK, but the noise is driving me nuts. Have you seen this before?
Answer: Yes, the front sway bar bushings go out all the time in those Kias. They always have them in stock at the dealer, just buy a set of the bushings, they’re actually pretty easy to put in yourself if you want to give it a try. They just unbolt, slip off, and then the new ones slip on.
Wilson’s Question: My car battery just died for the second time in the last year and a half. Nothing shows wrong in the charging system. How can I extend car battery life on my car?
Answer: Well, if you’ve been buying the same brand, I’d switch brands. Batterys generally average between 3 and four years lifespan in modern cars with all their electrical power usage. So you’re well below normal. And if you want a battery that really lasts a long time, get one of those fancy spiral battery’s (one company that makes them is Optima and they even sell them at discount chains like Auto Zone.) These spiral batteries cost a lot more, but I’ve seen them last well over ten years with no problems at all. If you live in a really cold area, like Alaska, that would be a good idea.
Continue reading ‘How to extend car battery life?’
Dave’s Question: I have a 93 toyota celica,I had trouble with the dim/bright switch on the steering colunm.pulling back it wouldn’t stay on.Dealer replaced light switch/turn signal column assembly. 2 months later my cruise control light won’t come on, cruise doesnt work,my horn doesn,t work and my airbag light stays on,any ideas?thanks Continue reading ’93 Toyota Celica Cruise Control Not Working’
Marcus’s Question: My 2000 Cadillac Deville stopped charging and went dead. I had the battery and alternator replaced, but the alternator still won’t charge the battery. The guys at Auto Zone checked the alternator on their machine, and it works fine. So it’s got to be something feeding the alternator. What should I check next?
Answer: Yes, you’ve got a stinker on your hands. SO, check all the wiring going to the alternator to make sure none are burned or loose. Of course, check the fuses to see if any are burned. Hopefully it’s something simple like that. BECAUSE in that Caddie, the alternator is ultimately run by the main computer, and are they Expensive. Occasionally I see one go bad and have to be replaced because the alternator would no longer charge. Let’s hope it’s just a broken wire somewhere instead.
Question: I recently purchased a 2007 Buick Lucerne. The steering wheel often makes a clunking noise when I make wide turns. It just doesn’t seem right to me. Have you seen this before?
Answer: Yes, of course it’s under warranty due to its age. So take it back for free repair. I’ve seen what’s called the “I shaft” in the steering column cause such a noise. So tell them you want the I shaft replaced. One of my customers had his replaced at the dealer for free. It still makes some noise, but is a LOT quieter now.
Buick Lucerne 2006
Enid’s Question: My 2006 Mazda 3 was wrecked in the front. They did a lot of body work, and had to replace the power steering. Now the check engine light comes on and they tell me it’s something to do with the power steering system. It steers fine, but that light is bothering me.
Answer: Now realize that your little Mazda has an electrical power steering system. There is no power steering pump and rack. And these electrical steering systems, of course, are computer controlled. When the electrical motor assembly is replaced, the computer must be reprogrammed to set things right. So go to a Mazda dealer and have them reprogram what’s called the “EPHRAS module.” That’s what runs computer controls on the electrical power steering.
1999 Pontiac Grand Am
Jack’s Question: When I take my 99 Grand Am out of park and put it in reverse my left turn signal indicator on the dash stays lit. Turn signal works fine when not braking. It just seems to have something to do with when I put the car in reverse because when I start the car and apply the brake to take it out of park the turn signal doesn’t stay lit on the dash, just when I put it in reverse. Is there some kind of sensor in the brake peddle or in the gear shift that can go bad?? I just don’t know where to begin?
Answer: You’re getting electronic feedback somewhere in the car. When you put the car in reverse, the reverse lights get electricity. Somehow this electricity is feeding back into the turn signal system, lighting up the turn signal indicator on the dash.
Have the electrical circuits checked in the trunk on the left side. You might have a bad circuit board on that side. And believe it or not, I’ve seen people have the wrong bulb installed back there, and it will cause short circuits and make other lights come on.
So make sure you have the original equipment correct bulbs back there (check the right side to make sure both sides have the same exact bulbs in them.) Hopefully one of these procedures will fix it, because your Pontiac also has a small computer on board, called the general electrical module (GEM) and they can go bad. Unless you’re an electrical mechanic, you won’t be able to check this GEM and they are pretty expensive to just guess with.
A bad GEM can also cause one electrical system to operate another one when its circuit boards short out internally. Good Luck.
Richard’s Question: I was servicing my 2004 Dodge Neon, and noticed that the power steering fluid color was getting pretty dark. It used to be pretty light colored. Should I be worried about this?
Dodge Neon 2004
Answer: Well, it’s really a good idea to have your power steering fluid flushed out and changed every three or four years just to keep debris out of it. Considering the high cost of replacing a power steering pump or a clogged steering rack, this is good preventative maintenance. So I’d change the fluid out if you haven’t done that yet. BUT, don’t rely on the color of the fluid in that Neon. The fluid that Dodge uses in them just naturally turns darker over time. Dodge has put out a bulletin telling how this dark color itself doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
Gretta’s question My 1999 Tahoe keeps setting the ABS warning light. It’s been snowing a lot, and I want the brakes to be working right. What could be causing this?
Chevy Tahoe 1999
Answer: Yes, the ABS braking system is a fail safe system, so that if the ABS portion breaks down it just reverts to normal brakes. BUT, you won’t have anti lock capability when that light comes on. Now they are rather complex computer driven systems, but since you mention you’re in a snow area, that can often be the cause of ABS malfunctions in that Tahoe. The salt and slush can cause corrosion in the ABS wheel sensors. GM even put out a bulletin about this a few years back. So have the wheel sensors removed, the assembly cleaned of debris, and see if that fixes your problem. You may need further work, like replacing bad sensors or broken wiring, BUT start with the simple process of just cleaning the sensors and their mountings off. Because that often fixes ABS problems in those Tahoes.
Rafael’s Question: I just put rear brake shoes on my 2002 Focus, and now they squeak a lot. What did I do wrong?
Ford Focus 2002
Answer: Well, first, make sure you used good brake shoes. Don’t just go to any discount auto store and buy the lowest price shoes available. They will often make noise. AND, when you installed the shoes, make sure you put some silicone brake lubricant grease on all the inside contact points of the brake shoes BEFORE you put the shoes back on. If you don’t do this, then the metal on the brake shoe backing will rub against the metal on the hub plate and make a lot of squeaking– especially when you stop quickly (the faster you stop, the more the shoes vibrate, the louder the noise.) So, it may be as simple as you not putting lubrication on the inside of the brake shoes.