Q. I have a 2004 Dodge Dakota V6 4WD engine and I have a question about the engine light. Recently my truck had a check engine light come on and the engine code was PO508. So far we have replaced the IAC (Idle Air Control), TBI (Throttle Body) and Computer. After all these repairs, the truck ran fine for a week. On a drive to work, the truck started to pitch up, lost power, the accelerator pedal did not respond, power fluctuated, although I was able to bring the truck back at home. On my way home I read the same PO508 code. We tested for vacuum leaks and found none. Any ideas where to go on this?
A. Since the repairs fixed the problem even if only for a week, I think you were on the right track. I suspect a problem with the wiring to IAC, maybe a bad ground circuit. The only way to find out is to start reading the resistance on each of the circuits. There is a defined procedure (problem tree) to inspect the components and wiring to find the cause of the code.
Q. Last weekend my 1970 Oldsmobile overheated and had to be towed home. There was no visible sign of leaking pipes so I determined it must have been a thermostat issue. Replacing the thermostat was relatively straightforward except during reassembly I was unable to grab the second thermostat housing bolt. Without the case, the bolts hook up fine, but with the case, one side always looks like it won’t hook no matter how hard it does. In addition, when dismantling, one bolt did not have a washer.
A. I would make sure the housing holes are clear and try to swap the bolts from side to side. Also make sure the thermostat is properly seated in the intake housing. There is a cutout so the ridge of the thermostat can sit in the manifold. As for the washer, I believe the original was a flange bolt, probably lost over the years. Since you have disassembled the housing, try to salvage a set of thermostat housing bolts (5 / 16-18 x 1-1 / 4) and when reassembling dab some RTV silicone on the threads. I would just let go of everything and make sure the thermostat is in place and carefully get the two bolts to catch them and evenly tighten them to 20 foot-pounds.
Q. Question for you, because you are the most level-headed intelligent person I know on this subject. I just bought a new car (which I do every 15 years whether I need a new car or not). It’s a 2021 Mustang Mach-E, which has impressed you enough and so far it’s pretty awesome! Upon delivery, it came with two small paint chips, through the clear and colored layer. The dealer’s solution is to send me a bottle of chipped paint so that I can fix it myself. What they generously report that they will not charge me! Am I a jerk expecting better repair than self-administered chip paint? Is there a better solution, or if I push it, will I only get the dealer application of said peeling paint? I wonder if I’m expecting too much from a new car when I’ve paid more than double the cost of my first home for this new car. Or does the new car have to come with a full professional finish? Your thoughts?
A. Touch-up paint will never replace a professional finish unless you prepare the area, apply the color coat, level it and then add the clear finish. I would expect the dealership to take it back and have their body shop scratched, then touch up the affected area using more than a bottle of touch up paint. The repair should include both color and transparency and not be visible in the sun. You bought a new car and new cars shouldn’t come with DIY paint repair. Now, if it was a demo car or some other used car, that would be a different story. BTW thanks for the compliments.
Q. I have a question on which I would appreciate your input. I recently bought a Chevrolet C3 Corvette with less than 60,000 miles (supposedly real). Although it’s not a big deal, the car has some leaks. There is a minor leak at the bell housing section, and it also looks like the power steering may be leaking. I took the car to a mechanic who takes care of my daily driver, whom I have used for years and whom I trust. His response to the leaks was not to fix them. His argument is that older Corvettes are prone to leaks, and once repaired, the leaks would not reoccur until soon after. I’m looking for a second opinion. Should these leaks be repaired or left as is and replenish fluids as needed? Thank you.
A. Your mechanic is right. Older Corvettes still seem to have minor leaks and many owners, given the limited number of cars they drive, live with them. In my opinion, there are three options, follow your store’s advice and leave the leaks alone (although they won’t improve on their own, they may not get worse and monitor fluid levels. Try it out. high mileage oil with the next oil change, it can help swell the gaskets and add a sealant and power steering conditioner which could fix a leak in the steering box or pump. wrong, the oil leak could be an oil pan gasket, rear main gasket, valve cover gaskets or an oil sending unit If this was my car I would start with the power steering leak as there are a limited number of components, hoses, pump and power steering box, all of these power steering leaks could go from a small leak to a major leak quickly and it is definitely worth it. be examined. The oil leak engine could seep forever, although I would like to clarify what is wrong. Your repair shop might try a dye in the oil, then trace the leak with ultraviolet light, and then determine the actual problem.
Q. I recently had a problem with my old Ford Explorer that won’t start. He rolled over but did not catch up. A really nice guy stopped by and asked if I needed any help, yes. He opened the hood and did something, and the car started. It has been working perfectly since then. Ideas?
A. I suspect your Ford had a bad fuel pump relay and the “nice guy” swapped out the horn relay with the fuel pump relay.
– John Paul, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Road Safety, AAA North East