If you’re a regular reader, welcome back. If you’re joining for the first time, you’re in for a treat. This column is devoted to helping readers solve their car problems. Sometimes, the issues are easy to diagnose and fix. Other times, a trip to a mechanic will be in order. The goal is to increase your car-related knowledge, so you’ll be better informed. Eventually, you’ll be able to replace parts and do a few minor repairs on your own.
Today, we’re going to take a look at a reader’s brake light problem and another reader’s cruise control issue. Let’s get started.
Question: I have a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria with 107,000 miles. I bought it new so I’m the sole owner. Here’s my problem: my brake lights keep malfunctioning. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. My car has anti-lock brakes and when the warning indicator comes on, the lights stop working. But, the warning indicator comes on sporadically. If it doesn’t come on, my brake lights work fine.
The car drives perfectly and I haven’t noticed any change in its braking ability. It’s just the lights that are driving me crazy. Do you know what is causing the problem?
Answer: Even though you’re not having any trouble braking, it sounds like there’s something wrong with the anti-lock brake system. When the warning light is triggered, a fault code is sent to your vehicle’s computer. Without knowing what that specific code is, I can’t tell you what triggered the warning. My advice is to have a mechanic pull the code and explain the cause. If there’s a problem with your ABS, fix it now before it leads to trouble later.
Question: I bought a used 1994 Chrysler New Yorker back in 2006. I had the engine rebuilt and it has about 77,000 miles on it. Anyway, my cruise control system is broken. I’m thinking that it has something to do with the speedometer because I recently had it fixed. Everything was fine before I took it into the repair shop by my house. But, now I can’t activate the cruise control (the speedometer is working, though).
I asked my mechanic and suggested that the job he performed may be connected to the problem. He said it wasn’t, of course. What do you think? Is my mechanic just trying to get out of his responsibility?
Answer: I’d take your car back to the shop and ask the technician to check the job he did to fix your speedometer. The thing is, your cruise control is dependent upon it. He may have unwittingly loosened a connection. Whether he suspects this could be the case or not is anyone’s guess.
Those were two great questions to add to our library of car problems and solutions. In the next installment, we’re going to help a reader pass his state’s smog check. Plus, we’re going to help another reader figure out why his radiator cap has slime (his word, not mine) on it. Stay tuned and drive safely.