Monthly Archives: February 2016

Time to tune up!

Time to tune up!

Q. I am getting a 2005 Toyota Camry from grandma in Arizona. It has been garaged-kept (never driven in summer months) and has only 25,000 miles on it. What parts and fluids should be changed? I would like to keep it another 10 years. A. What an opportunity for you to get a great car with such low mileage! Because of its age and how it was driven, I would recommend changing/flushing all the fluids. This would include the coolant, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, brake fluid and the engine oil. If it has a timing belt, I would change that, too, and I would scrutinize all the rubber parts of the car for any signs of dry rot or deterioration. These parts would include, but not limited to, the belts and hoses, axle boots, tires and brake hoses. Finally, don't skip the normal inspection you would give any older car like the brakes and filters. Make sure all the lights work. If there are any leaks, you might want to get these taken care of now, too. If you put a little money ... read more

Winter weather freezes up cruise control

Winter weather freezes up cruise control

Q. I have been using the cruise control on my 2006 Grand Marquis on a regular basis. It works just fine except when temperatures get below about 40 degrees. Then I need to wait until the car warms up before it can be made to activate. Since this can take as long as 20 minutes, I cannot use it for my frequent short distance trips. I tried a few ways to active the function but had little success. Is there any way I can trick the cruise control to think it is at operating temperature? A. It seems as though you may have a problem with the switch itself or the wiring going to the controls. There is also a clock spring just under the steering wheel that could potentially be the problem, but it seems more likely it is the switch itself. With a little diagnosing a good technician should be able to figure out what part is failing. You will definitely want to leave it at the repair shop overnight so they can test the car while it's cold. If you want to try to trick the car for purposes ... read more

Categories:

cruise control

Speed sensor and traction control powers down engine

Speed sensor and traction control powers down engine

Q. I have a 2009 Lexus ES 350, purchased new in May 2009, now with 35,000 miles. I have been trying to resolve a problem believed to be associated with the traction control system. I have been dealing with this problem since 2010. Occasionally when I make a left turn, just after starting my turn, there is a 100-percent loss of engine power. This is on dry pavement without any slipping of the tires occurring. I am 65 and don't do jack rabbit starts. The only time I had the traction actually kick in was our last big snowstorm. I started to accelerate, the tires spun, and the engine lost all power for 2 or 3 seconds. This was exactly what occurs on dry pavement. It doesn't occur when I go straight from a stop or on right turns. My car has been into Lexus four times and they found nothing because I can't reproduce the 3-second hesitation on demand. The last visit they had the area engineer and, like the other visits, they found nothing unusual, saying the traction control was ... read more

Categories:

traction control

Follow-up: Fuel gauge, fuel pump still not connecting

Follow-up: Fuel gauge, fuel pump still not connecting

I recently received a follow-up question from the driver of a Pontiac Montana minivan whose fuel gauge was malfunctioning, always reading full. I had recommended he use a scan tool to measure the signal coming from the fuel sending unit on the fuel pump. Q. I finally got around to looking into your advice on the weird behavior of our Montana. I unplugged the connector coming from the fuel tank and put an ohm meter between the purple wire (upper end of the sending unit) and the black/white wire (lower end of the sending unit) going to the PCM (protection circuit module). I read an open (…very strange). But when I rocked the van, the resistance was changing as the gas was sloshing around. After several seconds the ohm meter once again read open. Unfortunately I only had access to a digital meter that doesn't give as precise a reading as an analog meter would. I guess when the van sits still for several moments (open sending unit reading), the PCM must interpret it as being l ... read more

Categories:

fuel
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