Frank McKinney’s question:
have a 2001 Hyundai Elantra. With 180,000 miles. Runs great, with no problems. A few days ago the check engine light came on. I got it scanned and it came back emissions. Then I go to get gas and the pump keeps clicking off. It did that at several different stations. Any ideas.”
OK, when the pump clicks off, you’re not getting correct venting in the gas tank. And the EVAP emissions system takes care of that, so odds are you’ve got a blockage somewhere in the Evap system. Sometimes the EVAP canister just gets plugged up and can’t vent vapors anymore (and those vapors then build up pressure in the gas tank and shut the gas pump off. Now if you can e mail me the actual code number you got when it was scanned, I can give you an even better analysis of what could be going wrong. The codes help quite a bit in pinpointing where the problem lies.
Fast Eddy’s question:
I change my own oil in my 2005 BMW 325i. Now the service light is on, but I don’t know how to reset it. My friends with older BMWs have a special tool to reset it, but mine doesn’t seem to be made this way. Can you help me?”
Yes, there’s an exact sequence of events you need to do to reset that light. Here they are: Put the ignition key in the “0” (“off”) position.Then press and hold down the trip odometer button in the instrument cluster. Then turn the ignition key to the “1” (accessory) position. Make sure the button is pressed down for approx. 5 more seconds until any of the following appear in the display: “Oil Service” or “Inspection”, with “Reset” or “Re”. Then press the button again and hold for 5 seconds until the words “Reset” or “Re” flash. When the display is flashing, press the button quickly to reset the Service Interval. When the display has shown the new service interval, you’ll see “END SIA”. That means you did it right and the light will remain off until the next service interval is set. Yes, it’s a crazy procedure, but what do you expect from BMW?
I e-mailed you yesterday about my wife’s ’99 Hyundai Sonata wheel hub bearing assembly replacement. Thanks for the quick reply. However, I’m still not clear on the whole brake caliper removal. The rear wheel does have ABS disc brakes. So when I remove the caliper, will the brake pads stay attached to the caliper? If they don’t, then would I need to bleed the brakes and attach the pads to the caliper?”
No, you don’t have to worry about bleeding the brakes out. You just remove the callipers with the two bolts holding them on. Then slide the calliper assembly off. The pads will probably fall out, but as long as you don’t step on the brake pedal when the calliper is removed, the calliper piston will stay where it is and you just need to put it all back together again (as in, “Installation is reverse of removal.”) The system only needs bleeding if you open a line up and let air in. It’s a pretty simple job, once you do one side, the other is a breeze.
My 2000 Corolla is missing out badly when I accelerate. It’s also getting really bad gas mileage. I took it and got the computer scanned, but there were no trouble codes (the check engine light does not come on at all when this problem occurs.) What could be wrong?”
Well, theoretically there could be lots of things causing that, but most of those problems would set the check engine light and store a trouble code. THE most common problem in a Corolla like yours which would cause bad hesitation is a dirty or worn out mass aiflow sensor (or MAF sensor.) Try having it cleaned out with MAF sensor cleaning spray, and if that doesn’t work, replace the sensor. They are simple to replace, any auto parts store can sell you one and show you where it’s located (two screws remove the sensor.) Since these sensors go bad quite frequently, they are easy to purchase as many people now sell them.
Hi I am looking to buy a car for which i need some advice, its either a VW PASSAT or a MERCEDES C180. I have seen a VW 20V 1.8 PASSAT which has done 89k miles and a R REG MERCEDES C180 which has done 117k. Which do you think is worth buying as i intend to work as a cab driver. Which do you think is a better car overall? “
I personally wouldn’t buy either, they are both rather high maintenace cars with histories of heavy breakdowns. I’d go Toyota if at all possible. BUT, if you have to pick one of your choices, the Passat would be the lesser of two evils.
I have a 2000 BMW 325i and sometimes my abs light comes on and with it accompanies the traction control light. I have no idea where to start since it seems intermittent.”
OK, the ABS system and the traction control system are an interlocked system. So often a light coming on in one will cause a light to come on in the other. On a BMW, those systems are computer controlled monsters that require some super expensive scan tools to analyze. Even I don’t work on their ABS systems, I send them to a German I know who has the correct equipment (and who thinks hundred dollar bills are for lighting cigars, if you know what I mean.) The scanner and software required for American cars and Japanese cars isn’t all that bad to buy, but German cars–that’s another story. But, you could remove all four wheels and check the wheel sensor wiring for breaks or frays, and could remove each wheel sensor and clean it of debris. The sensors are magnetic and will pick up any magnetic debris you drive over, and cause faults in the computer system which doesn’t understand the strange signal that they then send to it. Who knows, you might get lucky and find a sensor that has a lot of debris on it and you can just wipe it off and clean it’s mounting area up also. Now on the plus side, that ABS system is a fail safe system, so when it stops working, you just go back to normal, non ABS braking. When many people discover the immense cost of fixing ABS, they often decide to live with normal brakes.
I have a 1989 Toyota Supra turbo and my car doesn’t idle right. It doesn’t kick up in the beginning of startup. Sometimes I have to press on the gas to start it. After I left off the gas from accelerating sometimes it dies. Thank you.”
Turbos are very touchy about vacuum leaks in the intake system, so check that out VERY closely. Cracked hoses, loose clamps, and broken or fallen off vacuum lines are the main suspects. And as they age, the air flow meters can often just wear out, making starting hard and causing stalls when you stop fast. Unfortunately your car is so old that a scanner won’t help you figure things out, as there isn’t any data available on them to get a good analysis. But, if you can’t find any intake leaks, you could just guess with a rebuilt air flow meter as you can certainly find one at a reasonble cost at any good foreign auto parts supplier (they’ll probably have to special order it in, but I got one a month ago for an older Toyota and it only took one day from California.)
Jimmy Alvarez’s question:
where can you find the reverse switch on a 85 nissan 300zx can you plz show me a link where i can find this info…thank you !!!! “
It depends upon whether you have a standard transmission or an automatic. The standards have the switch near the back of the transmission, it’s a simple two wire connection switch with power in and power out. The automatics hide them further towards the middle of the transmission and are often up top where they are hard to get to. Unfortunately none of my information systems show pictures of such a simple device (they are for mechanics and they assume a good mechanic can find the back up light switch without any pictures or even descriptions—they just tell me how much the switch costs and the labor price of replacing the switch.) But, if you go to a dealer, they can show you on their computer exactly where the switch is located with a picture (I guess they assume their parts guys have less knowledge than mechanics so they offer pictures.)
My 2002 Pontiac Grand Am is making a really bad clunking noise that is coming from under the car, and it sounds like it’s coming more from the rear of the vehicle. I just replaced all of the struts and shocks on the car, but the clunking noise is still there. The noise gets louder/more noticeable when I turn, and the clunking gets faster or slower as I speed up or slow down (they coincide). I’m wondering if I’m having wheel bearing or brake problems….but I’m not sure! Any suggestions? Thank you!!!”
OK, wheel bearings don’t clunk, they groan and the faster you go, the louder they groan. A clunk is something worn. Pay special attention to all the torsion bar bushings, they will wear and then clunk And look at ALL the rubber bushings back there. Any metal suspension part that goes through a rubber bushings has the possibility of causing clunks. Normally the torsion bar bushings make the most noise, I see that a lot. So check them first.
” My 2002 Infiniti I30 won’t start. The fuel pump won’t work, but it will start if I hot wire the fuel pump. Then it runs fine. I traced the problem to the main computer, which is burned inside. My question is this–what can I check BEFORE I buy a new expensive computer to ensure it won’t burn out again?”
Well, you’re certainly being smart not just buying the computer and hoping that will fix the problem. You’d want to check the wiring going to the fuel pump for any type of short, and check the fuel pump to see if it’s using too many amps and is wearing out itself. BUT, also realize that the computer itself receives unfused power from MANY different sensors. So check them all, especially the idle air control sensor, because I’ve seen water intrude into the IAC sensor on those Infinitis, which shorts the sensor out. Then this feedbacks to the computer and shorts it out. I fixed one last year with the same problem as yours, and it was a leaking IAC valve that shorted out the fuel pump driver in the computer. Aren’t modern complex cars fun to work on?