Starter issue: Conduct voltage test first

Dear Doctor: I own a 2006 Lincoln Town Car in excellent condition. I always take my car to the dealer for service, however, last year while traveling out of town the starter failed, so I went to a local mechanic who replaced it. Last week I tried to start the car and after two attempts it finally started. The dealer replaced the starter. However, I still have the problem of taking two or three attempts before the engine starts. Can you help?

– Joe

Dear Joe: The first thing I do with a vehicle that has starting issues is conduct a voltage drop test, along with making sure the ground connection is good. Voltage is often overlooked when checking for electrical issues. The technician needs to perform these tests first, and if all test results are good, then it needs to be considered that the starter motor is defective. Replacement starter motors are rebuilt – not new. I have had my share of defective rebuilt starters and alternators. Whenever possible I use Bosch starters and alternators.

Dear Doctor: I recently had the fuel pump replaced on my 1999 Ford F-250 pickup. Now the fuel gauge only reads three-quarter full when the tank is actually completely full. I had my mechanic replace the fuel pump again. The fuel gauge now reads a little better than three-quarter full, but it’s still a long way from the full marker. Can you offer a solution?

– Terry

Dear Terry: We know the fuel level sender is working – it’s just not the reading correctly. One problem could be that the shop may not have obtained the correct fuel unit for the F-250 pickup truck. There are three different fuel tank gallon capacities for this truck. Get the correct fuel tank capacity from the dealer using your vehicle’s VIN number to identify the tank size. I do not recommend the bending of the fuel level sending bar to set the level indicator to correct the gauge reading. You can also have the technician check the price on a factory Ford fuel pump assembly with the sender.

Dear Doctor: The cruise control on my Infiniti G37 convertible has stopped working. I have looked for its fuse with no luck. I looked at the owner’s manual, which stated the cruise control was set to the brakes. Can you advise me on what I should do?

– Scott

Dear Scott: The cruise control system has multiple electronic safety functions, including the brake light switch. You need an ASE-certified master technician to help you with this issue. The technician will connect a professional scan tool and review all of the input sensor information.

Dear Doctor: My 2012 Chevrolet Impala has about 40,000 miles on it. Occasionally, there is a screeching noise in the steering column when turning. I have had it lubed and greased at the dealership and at my local garage, but the screeching noise always returns. Any suggestions?

– Ken

Dear Ken: The first step is to identify the specific part and location of the noise. The technician will use a stethoscope to locate the noise source. It needs to be determined whether the noise is coming from the top bearing or at the lower part of the steering column. I’ve seen dried-out rubber seals in the lower column cause squeaking sounds, which only need to be treated with a transmission fluid or power steering fluid lubrication. The lubrication has to leave a lasting film. However, if the noise is from a bearing, then it will require replacement or grease – not liquid lubrication.

Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2016 Chevy Equinox in April and it has just over 4,000 miles on it. I have experienced water coming from the front of the driver’s door after a steady rain. I have returned to the dealer twice with this problem and was told “weep holes” are in place for this type of drainage. On my third visit the dealer performed a water test on the vehicle. The results showed no leaks and that drainage of water from the vehicle was normal. If the seal were doing its job, then why is water coming in from the door bottom?

– DJ

Dear DJ: Some doors do have weep drain holes for rain water that will travel between the glass and upper window door seal. If the vehicle is parked in a position that the rain can go down between the glass and door seal, then the weep holes are doing their job.