Follow the fuse diagram for no-start issue

Dear Doctor: I own a 2002 Chrysler Sebring convertible with 100,000 miles. After sitting for a few days it wouldn’t start. I had it towed to my local mechanic who made repairs and explained that the fuse to the starter was blown and the fuse is connected to the fuel pump. The no-start problem happened again after the car sat for a few days. I took it back to the mechanic and he checked the volt and amps while starting it numerous times and got normal readings. He fixed it again, and while the fuse has not blown I’m afraid of driving on the highway and the fuse blowing. About 10 years ago I had a remote starter installed, but that still works. Any advice?


Dear Bob: There is no magic wand to wave to help locate intermittent no-start problems. A technician will need to look at the wiring diagram, following it from the fuse box to all of the accessories in the circuit. A wiggle test of all the connection wires is next, including an inspection of the underside of the fuse box connection. Your technician seems to be helping you the best way he can. He also can assist in getting help from an electrical shop. You can stay with your current shop to continue to track down this issue, or you can take the car to a Chrysler dealership for support.

Dear Doctor: My 2004 Ford Taurus SES V-6 with about 80,000 miles runs great, but lately the engine, which normally idles at about 750 rpm, races for a few minutes at over 2,000 rpm, requiring a heavy foot on the brake. This is not a cold-engine warming up issue. It’s after driving for a while. The rpms return to normal idle in a few minutes. It happens once a week. Does this sound like a sticking accelerator cable, or more like a computer problem? I was told there are no codes.


Dear Mike: The idle system is controlled by the computer. The computer needs input information from multiple sensors, including engine temperature, engine load, air conditioning compressor on/off, gas pedal position, transmission gear position. The actual idle controller is called an idle air control motor. The small motor gets its position orders from the computer and throttle position sensor. There are many factors that can cause higher than normal idle speeds. Common problems in your Ford: Lazy and worn idle air control motors and throttle position sensors; carbon buildup in the throttle body; air intake leak, such as a vacuum hose around the intake manifold, a PCV hose or connection; and even a leaking brake vacuum booster.

Dear Doctor: My son leases a Volkswagen CC. The right front headlamp blinks similar to a human eye wink about one minute after start up. My son tells me the headlamp operates properly after that. He has been quoted $850 to replace it. The headlamp shines bright and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. Any suggestions?


Dear Andrew: Before spending money on a replacement, you need to determine whether the problem is the actual HID bulb, or any other part of the HID system located in or under the light assembly. The first step is to swap HID bulbs side to side. Then follow with the other light assembly components, one at a time. In some cases the front bumper cover has to come off to gain access to the headlight replacement. Since this is a leased vehicle I would recommend speaking to the dealership regarding your warranties.

Dear Doctor: You responded to a reader who inquired about getting a softer ride from his 2011 Buick Lucerne. You mentioned softening the ride by lowering the tire pressure by 3 pounds from the recommended pressure. I’m an avid reader of `Ask the Auto Doctor’ and I recall in many of your previous columns urging owners to follow the manufacturer tire pressures, or adjust minimally. I’m confused. Can you clarify? Robert

Dear Robert: Lowering or raising the air pressure 2 to 4 pounds affects tire wear, ride, and handling. I test-drive new cars every week and have noticed some high-line cars have different tire pressures for normal and high-speed driving. These tire pressures range at 35 to 41 pounds, depending on the driving speed. When a customer comes into my shop wanting to soften the ride without changing the tire size, I recommend a simple lowering of the air pressure by 3 pounds. This can make a substantial difference in the ride. However, doing so could make the tires may wear sooner on the inside or outside edges.

Dear Doctor: Regarding your reader with the issue of the unintentionally opened windows of the 2016 Honda Civic, I may have some relevant information. As a previous owner of Honda Pilots and current owner of a Honda Accord, I am familiar with an aspect of the Honda key fob feature: When the key fob’s open door button is held down a bit longer than just a quick press, all windows – including the sunroof – open fully. What are your thoughts on this feature? Janet

Dear Janet: Yes, this is designed by Honda to be a convenience feature, however, I have seen unintentional automatic window openings. For example, a couple of unintentional window opening events occurred at my shop while the Honda key fobs were hanging in the office and within range of the vehicles being worked on. The first step I take in resolving this issue is to replace the key fob battery.