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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

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So I'm deliver pizzas over winter break and had a bit of a nightmare tonight...The Jetta that I drive is fairly low to the ground and I was driving on some road that was recently worked on. I hit some sort of awkward lump in the road that seemed to hit my oil pan. A few seconds later the oil light started flashing and beeping and my car had trouble shifting gears. I stopped the car and eventually got it towed. Obviously there was a fairly large puddle of oil where I had stopped. The place that I dropped it off at is closed till Monday. Just wondering if I could get any feedback here about what I could be looking at in terms of repairs.

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I'm Baaaaaaack!

Damned Impala again (2004):

The wife had the brakes and rotors replaced a couple months ago, within days of the replacement they were squeekin' and squeelin'. We took the car back and the fixed the problem. Well, it was fixed for about 3 blocks anyways. Took the car back in and they suggested we upgrade the brakes to ceramic pads, that would certainly fix the problem. So we did, cost an extra $100 on top of the original $325.

Bet you have guessed what comes next. It took a day or two but the squeeks and squeels have returned. Any ideas?

We are taking the car to another garage next week and I'd like to have some sort of an idea of what I'm hearing from them.

Thanks. Again.

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2001 Chevy S-10

When I turn the left turn signal on it either sticks on the inside (doesn't flash in the dashboard) or all 4 outside lights flash like I have my hazards on.

I believe this is a problem with my signal stat. Any help would be great!

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Man, I sure haven't been keeping up with this thread like I used to. I'll answer as much as I can in reverse chronological order...

---------- Post added January-18th-2011 at 07:40 PM ----------

2001 Chevy S-10

When I turn the left turn signal on it either sticks on the inside (doesn't flash in the dashboard) or all 4 outside lights flash like I have my hazards on.

I believe this is a problem with my signal stat. Any help would be great!

My first two thoughts would either be a bad turn signal flasher or a bad turn signal switch. The flasher should be cheap and easy to replace but the turn signal switch is probably a bit more expensive.

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2001 Chevy S-10

When I turn the left turn signal on it either sticks on the inside (doesn't flash in the dashboard) or all 4 outside lights flash like I have my hazards on.

I believe this is a problem with my signal stat. Any help would be great!

Is the turn signal arm sticking or is the light just staying on in the dash?

Sometimes filaments in the bulbs or the sockets short across causing it to feed back...start with the left rear and remove bulbs and see if the other side quits lighting up...or unplug the tailamp if it is easier

added

Slacker :ols:

Edited by twa

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I'm Baaaaaaack!

Damned Impala again (2004):

The wife had the brakes and rotors replaced a couple months ago, within days of the replacement they were squeekin' and squeelin'. We took the car back and the fixed the problem. Well, it was fixed for about 3 blocks anyways. Took the car back in and they suggested we upgrade the brakes to ceramic pads, that would certainly fix the problem. So we did, cost an extra $100 on top of the original $325.

Bet you have guessed what comes next. It took a day or two but the squeeks and squeels have returned. Any ideas?

We are taking the car to another garage next week and I'd like to have some sort of an idea of what I'm hearing from them.

Thanks. Again.

I would have them replace the shims and hardware for the brake pads as well as lubricate the caliper slides. A poor quality rotor could cause this as well. We had such a problem with noisy brake rotors a few years ago that we had to completely stop using that supplier's brake rotors. Ceramic brake pads are nice, and their claim to fame is no noise (or brake dust), but I've seen them make noise before. However, I would believe that over the course of two sets of brake pads that the noise isn't the pads fault. Since that has been addressed, I'd point towards the rotors or the hardware.

---------- Post added January-18th-2011 at 07:48 PM ----------

So I'm deliver pizzas over winter break and had a bit of a nightmare tonight...The Jetta that I drive is fairly low to the ground and I was driving on some road that was recently worked on. I hit some sort of awkward lump in the road that seemed to hit my oil pan. A few seconds later the oil light started flashing and beeping and my car had trouble shifting gears. I stopped the car and eventually got it towed. Obviously there was a fairly large puddle of oil where I had stopped. The place that I dropped it off at is closed till Monday. Just wondering if I could get any feedback here about what I could be looking at in terms of repairs.

It's a little late but it sounds like you might have hit your transmission pan instead of your oil pan. Could certainly be very expensive but I'm sure you've found that out by now.

---------- Post added January-18th-2011 at 08:00 PM ----------

2004 Chevy Impala,

No heat coming from vents, air is coming out but no heat at all.

Any ideas?!?

I get this one a lot this time of year.

The heat that you feel in the cabin of your car comes from the car's antifreeze/coolant (I'll refer it to as coolant from here on out). The coolant comes from the engine and to the heater core which is located in the car's dash. The blower blows air through the heater core and brings hot air into the car. The same fluid that keeps the engine from freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer is what gives you hot air, ultimately.

The most common reason for a lack of hot air is not the thermostat actually. The most common reason is a low coolant level. The heater core is normally the highest point in the cooling system (everywhere in the car that coolant runs through). This means that if the coolant level ever goes low, the heater core will be the first thing affected. If there is no hot coolant in the heater core for the blower to blow air through, you won't get hot air. This is the reason for no heat almost 100% of the time.

Now, since the coolant is low, where did it go? Coolant doesn't evaporate, the level shouldn't go down unless it leaks somewhere. A hose, a gasket, a radiator, a water pump, etc. That is what it really means. Almost 100% of the time, if a customer complains of no heat, there is a leak somewhere in the cooling system.

Other possibilities: Thermostat stuck, not allowing coolant to flow from the hot engine. Heater core clogged, not allowing enough coolant to flow through it to give you hot air.

PS: Kaos... the Impala is notorious for intake manifold gasket leaks.

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Is the turn signal arm sticking or is the light just staying on in the dash?

Sometimes filaments in the bulbs or the sockets short across causing it to feed back...start with the left rear and remove bulbs and see if the other side quits lighting up...or unplug the tailamp if it is easier

added.

Slacker :ols:

The turn signal arm does not stick, only the right turn signal light inside the dash. I'm going to try a new turn signal flasher tomorrow and see if that helps. Do you guys think this could be anything related to a ground problem in my battery? Thanks for the help to, I really appreciate it!

Edited by Redskins432

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ya got a bad bulb or socket

have you tried turning the lights on and looking at each one?

when the light on the dash sticks one is not working

Edited by twa

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Alright, got one for you.

I have a 1996 Camaro 3.8 and with cold weather starting issues.

After sitting over night when under about 30 degrees outside the car has a hard time starting.

This is what happens,

When I 1st put the key in and turn it to acc, the one right before starting the car, normally you would hear the alarm for fasten seatbelt, in my car it's just a ding, ding, ding, ding.

Well, when it's cold it seems to take a min or two to charge up so instead of the normal ding, ding, ding, you get, di, di, di, di, di, di, di real fast, eventually slowing down to the ding, ding, ding. To me it sounds like it's taking awhile for something to charge up/hold enough juice to give the car juice to turn over. Once I let it sit for a min. or two to where it has the juice the car turns over and starts just fine. If I try while it's still charging up, turning the key to start, it does nothing.

This went on all last winter as well. Hopefully I've explained it well enough to understand what's going on.

In temps above over around 30 degrees, car starts just fine.

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Sounds like a poor connection somewhere...possibly corrosion on the battery posts(or inside a cable) exacerbated by the metal contracting from the cold

The juice flowing thru a bad connection results in heat and expansion

or maybe your car is possesed

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Got one possibly two different problems with my car and need some Mechanic advice.

I have a 2000 Chevy Impala (3.8L V6). The two problems are this:

1. The turn signals seem to work almost none of the time. Every now and then they'll decide to work, but mostly they don't and sometimes I get a 'buzzing' sound when I try to actuate them while driving. The four way hazard switch works (and I tried replacing it as some articles I saw online lead me to think that maybe that was the problem.) On top of that, other lights in the Instrument cluster light up but don't appear to be actually having problems, namely:

Traction Control Off Light

ABS

Air Bag Sensor Light

ANd sometimes the service panel will put out a Battery warning, or a Service Traction System Warning. I'm not sure I believe the later, because I have felt the Traction control kick in despite this light being off in the rain in the last few weeks.

2. Starting the car seems tricky. Sometimes I get in the car turn the key and its fine. Other times I can turn it, and after jiggling it a bit it will start. Other times it won't start unless I press down on the pedal (brake). I am wondering if this could be a sign of a fault in the switch or alternator. I don't think its the starter, as the car does eventually turn over. The other thing when the key is engaged often I don't here the starter 'click' until I release the key, which seems unusual.

Anyhow, problem 2 cropped up while I was waiting for a part I was told might solve the instrument panel lights. The Hazard lights do work with the current switch, but the turn signals seldom work.

Any suggestions on what the possible Cause might be?

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veretax

http://answers.edmunds.com/question-Oldsmobile-Alero-Have-turn-signal-Makes-buzzing-sound-turn-turn-signal-Flasher-Where-it-29386.aspx

Check out this recall below:

Bulletin No.: 04098A

Date: January 11, 2006

SPECIAL POLICY

Subject:

04098 - Special Policy Adjustment - Turn Signal/Hazard Warning Flashers

...

Condition

Some customers of 1999-2002 Chevrolet Malibu, Oldsmobile Alero, Pontiac Grand Am, and 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass may have turn signal/hazard flashers that become inoperative.

Special Policy Adjustment

This special policy covers the condition described above for a period of 10 years or 150,000 miles (240,000 km), whichever occurs first, from the date the vehicle was originally placed in service, regardless of ownership. The repairs will be made at no charge to the customer.

For 1999-2000 vehicles covered by Vehicle Service Contracts, all eligible claims with repair orders on or after December 23, 2004 are covered by this special policy and must be submitted using the labor operation codes provided with this bulletin. Claims with repair orders prior to December 23, 2004 must be submitted to the Service Contract provider.

For 2001-2002 vehicles covered by Vehicle Service Contracts, all eligible claims with repair orders on or after January 11, 2006 are covered by this special policy and must be submitted using the labor operation codes provided with this bulletin. Claims with repair orders prior to January 11, 2006 must be submiffed to the Service Contract provider.

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Got one possibly two different problems with my car and need some Mechanic advice.

I have a 2000 Chevy Impala (3.8L V6). The two problems are this:

1. The turn signals seem to work almost none of the time. Every now and then they'll decide to work, but mostly they don't and sometimes I get a 'buzzing' sound when I try to actuate them while driving. The four way hazard switch works (and I tried replacing it as some articles I saw online lead me to think that maybe that was the problem.) On top of that, other lights in the Instrument cluster light up but don't appear to be actually having problems, namely:

Traction Control Off Light

ABS

Air Bag Sensor Light

ANd sometimes the service panel will put out a Battery warning, or a Service Traction System Warning. I'm not sure I believe the later, because I have felt the Traction control kick in despite this light being off in the rain in the last few weeks.

2. Starting the car seems tricky. Sometimes I get in the car turn the key and its fine. Other times I can turn it, and after jiggling it a bit it will start. Other times it won't start unless I press down on the pedal (brake). I am wondering if this could be a sign of a fault in the switch or alternator. I don't think its the starter, as the car does eventually turn over. The other thing when the key is engaged often I don't here the starter 'click' until I release the key, which seems unusual.

Anyhow, problem 2 cropped up while I was waiting for a part I was told might solve the instrument panel lights. The Hazard lights do work with the current switch, but the turn signals seldom work.

Any suggestions on what the possible Cause might be?

Problem #1: I believe twa is right and, while what he pasted doesn't list the part to be replaced, it's the hazard switch that needs to be replaced. I believe this will take care of your turn signal problem.

Problem #2: It sounds like the ignition switch is going bad. The ignition switch is the electrical part that is connected to the ignition lock (where you put the key). If it is going bad, it can cause a "no start" condition because the switch isn't sending any signal to start the car. That may also be the cause of your various lights you are getting in the dash. If the switch loses signal while the car is running, it can cause a whole litany of strange problems. Simply put, part of the car may think that it isn't running when it actually is and some electrical components might not be powered because the switch is telling them that the car isn't running. I'd start with the switch (as far as your starting problem) and go from there.

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Problem #1: I believe twa is right and, while what he pasted doesn't list the part to be replaced, it's the hazard switch that needs to be replaced. I believe this will take care of your turn signal problem.

Problem #2: It sounds like the ignition switch is going bad. The ignition switch is the electrical part that is connected to the ignition lock (where you put the key). If it is going bad, it can cause a "no start" condition because the switch isn't sending any signal to start the car. That may also be the cause of your various lights you are getting in the dash. If the switch loses signal while the car is running, it can cause a whole litany of strange problems. Simply put, part of the car may think that it isn't running when it actually is and some electrical components might not be powered because the switch is telling them that the car isn't running. I'd start with the switch (as far as your starting problem) and go from there.

Well I already replaced the Hazard switch today, and the part worked at least for the hazard lights, but the left and right individuals still were not working right. I mean they work when the lights aren't on the dash, but when they are, they don't. Weird.

I went over to advance because I was pricing the switch for my AC Fan speed controller, and saw they do free Starter and Alternator Checks. So I had them try it. Sure enough the car didn't want to start. Battery has plenty of cranking amps (its rated at 875, and was at I think 809 on his read out, which for a 2yr battery is probably good.) The Alternator was putting out juice according to his readout, but he couldn't get a good gauge on the starter because it stuttered before starting. The more I think about it the more I think it is the switch.

This is ironic because a year ago I had to replace the lock cylinder because it locked up. That was the only part we replaced, its possible that I may end up replacing it and the switch again to get this right. Thanks for the advice, and I Hadn't thought about the engine not thinking its on, but my neighbor who's been helping me with the car, noted that sometimes a car may be in park, but not think it is, and hence won't let it start. Thanks for the advice, its much appreciated.

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On an E36 M3, how do I get to the secondary relay and fuse panel?

God, it could be anywhere. They put those things all over the place. Could be in the trunk?

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+1 :ols:

Slate ...under hood passenger side ...inside glove box acesss panel and I believe relays under passenger seat

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For a co-worker having trouble with a '98 Nissan Maxima:

On about 5 occasions over the last few weeks, after a short trip to the store, church, the gym, etc., the car does not start. It is getting power and the starter is cranking fine, but it does not fire. If I leave it for a couple of hours or so and come back, it starts right up no problem.

Any ideas?

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Inline Fuel filter been changed?

\

Could be the pump or screen,but if it starts after sitting fuel filter is the usual culprit.

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Have 2000 Honda Accord Ex, V6. Check engine light came on and used a scanner at autozone and error message 'O2 flow insufficeint.' Would this mean I need to get the EGR replaced?

Hypothetically, if I needed the EGR replaced, what can I expect to be a fair price with labor assuming they used factory parts.

Thanks.

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Here we go again...

2004 Chevy Impala, overheating at idle and temp dropping when moving. Apparently it happened twice. The first time the coolant level was low (empty), the second time was after she filled the coolant 3/4 of the way full.

BTW: For Sale: 2004 Chevy Impala :ols:

Edited by Capt. Kaos

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Chaos, check and see if the electric fan on the radiator is working

and for a leak if it is not boiling over

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Chaos, check and see if the electric fan on the radiator is working

and for a leak if it is not boiling over

ok, ssems that the mechanic that just did the brakes and installed the horn told my wife that there is a small coolant leak, somewhere.

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Just to be sure, check your oil. make sure the level did not go up, and there is no coolant in the oil.

Edited by HOF44

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