With the economy putting a lot of people on notice about their jobs, more drivers than ever seem willing to keep their older cars on the road. Good decision. New vehicles are expensive. However, the other side of the coin is that auto parts which have suffered wear and tear will eventually malfunction. You’ll need to either have them repaired or replaced.
What we’ve been doing in this regular feature is focusing on readers’ car problems. So, if you’re having an issue with your vehicle and can’t figure it out, let me know about it. In today’s segment, we’ll try to help one reader solve his car’s starting problem. We’ll also take a look at another long-time reader’s brake issue. Let’s dig in.
Question: I have a 2001 Mitsubishi Diamante with a little over 109,000 miles. I’ve been having a problem starting the car for about 6 months. The thing is, it doesn’t happen all of the time which makes it tough for my mechanic to figure out what’s wrong. Sometimes, I’ll turn the key and nothing will happen. And then, at other times, it fires right up.
I changed out the battery awhile back, but it didn’t make a difference. Actually, I had a feeling the battery wasn’t the issue because the radio and other stuff works fine even if my car doesn’t start. So, what the heck is happening?
Answer: That does sound frustrating. From what you’ve described, I’m going to suggest having your mechanic check the ignition switch. There are wires in there which can break and make it hard for the switch to read your key. It’s possible that it’s reading your key sporadically even though it’s broken. If that is the issue, your mechanic should be able to fix it pretty quickly.
Question: I’ve been enjoying your column since you started it and I’ve been learning a lot just by reading. Still afraid to do my own auto repairs, though. In any case, I have a 2000 Honda CR-V with odometer at 120,000. Last month, the anti-lock brake light lit up on my dash. I took it into the Honda dealer and they said repairing the system would cost nearly $1,500. I’m a teacher and that’s a lot of money to me.
Here’s the thing. My brakes actually work well. So, I don’t know why the ABS light is on. Can I just disconnect it?
Answer: I’m glad you’re enjoying the Auto Specialist column. Now, regarding the ABS light, it’s tough to know what is triggering it without performing a test. The anti-lock brake system in your vehicle is actually comprised of several parts and some are expensive. The $1,500 they quoted might be accurate.
Here’s what I’d do: first, go back to the Honda dealer and ask them which part – or parts – they want to replace. Then, take your vehicle to a local garage and have them run a test to get a second opinion. As for disconnecting your anti-lock brake system, I don’t recommend it. Let me know how it goes.
That’s it for now. Hopefully, by reading each installment of the Auto Specialist, you’re learning more about your vehicle and the parts under the hood. As I mentioned, I’ve been receiving a ton of reader mail about car problems. So, we’ll have a new batch of issues to dig out hands into next time. Until then, drive safely.