Push-button car has no-start issue
Ask the Auto Doctor
DEAR DOCTOR: We own a 2012 Dodge Charger with a V6, keyless entry and push-button start. There have been a few random instances of the car not starting — no click, nothing. We had it towed to the dealership, who found no trouble codes and couldn’t replicate to no-start condition. The battery was replaced, and it happened twice more since then. We also replaced the battery in the key fob. Sometimes it’s fine for two months. What should we do?
DEAR DOUG: A no-start condition while at the repair shop and no fault codes in memory will leave a technician at a loss. I would connect a test light to the (S) terminal at the starter, then start the engine, and if it does not crank over look to see if the test light is illuminated. This would show if power is getting to the starter. This is the first step in trouble shooting the no-start condition. The technician should also check both Alldata and Identifix for further technical support and advice.
DEAR DOCTOR: Engine oil is getting confusing. The recommended oil for my 3.6-liter V-6 Cadillac CTS (63,000 miles) is the Group III “synthetic” Mobil 1 5-30. However, new and “better” synthetics are sold, such as Mobil 1 0-30 and Mobil I “Annual Protection” synthetic rated for a longer change interval. Should I switch over to one of the newer synthetics for my Cadillac?
DEAR MARC: Manufacturers have their own required additive packages to all the fluids in their vehicles. I use only factory fluids as specified by the auto manufacturer, especially transmission and power steering fluids. Engine oils improve ever year. The use of any oil that meets or exceeds the original specs is perfectly safe to use, and will offer better protection than the original oil recommended oil.
DEAR DOCTOR: I inadvertently removed the ground cable from my 2003 Lincoln Town Car. Now the instrumentation panel shows a “door ajar” and the panic alarm goes off, too. How can I fix this?
DEAR MARIO: Have a technician use a professional scan tool to look for fault codes in the body control module. Next, with all doors shut and after the computer goes to sleep, check all door switches to make sure they all are operating. The technician can also disconnect both battery cables, wait 30 minutes and then touch both cables together, this will power down the entire electrical system. I have seen crazy electronic problems fixed by this procedure. There could also be a be problem in the dash cluster, in which case it should be removed sent out for repair.
DEAR DOCTOR: I hope you can give suggestions on how to acquire the 30th Anniversary Pontiac Grand Am. I can find the available 2003 models, but not the silver V-6 version with hood decal and leather seats emblazoned with two checkered racing flags. Any suggestions?
DEAR FRANK: You are looking for very low volume production car. Your best options are to conduct an online search and sign up for alerts. Also, you could always buy a model that is close to what you want and then modify it and add the touches you want.
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. E-mail questions for publication to firstname.lastname@example.org
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