Key fob failure tough
Ask the Auto Doctor
Dear Doctor: We have a 2010 Nissan Murano with 43,000 miles. Both key fobs work sporadically to open the car. Most of the time, we have to insert the fob into the dashboard key slot to start it. The batteries in both fobs have been changed several times and each reads a solid 3 volts. There are no warning lights. What should I do?
Dear Charlie: Today’s cars are highly electronically advanced. A scan tool with OEM factory capability will be needed to check all body codes. However, before spending any money, try disconnecting the battery for a few hours. When the battery is disconnected for a length of time it can sometimes clear any module issues. For me, this is a no-expense repair worth a try. A company called Dorman sells replacement key fobs and a how-to-install video (www.dormanproducts.com).
Dear Doctor: My wife drives a 2015 Nissan Murano V-6 CVT with almost 50,000 miles. For the last year or so, when shifting from Reverse to Drive, the transmission hesitates slightly before it clunks into drive. The Nissan dealer says this is normal, yet can’t explain why it didn’t do that when the Murano was new. I feel like an expensive repair is coming. Is there any preventive maintenance that could help?
Dear John: Some CVT transmissions are problematic once they hit five years or over 50,000 miles; others last longer. I recommend that owners of vehicles equipped with a CVT transmission change the fluid and filter at 50,000 miles. We also only use the OEM factory fluid — not universal fluid. Any internal repairs other than warranty valve body or replacement would be very expensive to the owner. The newer CVT transmissions have been improved and are more reliable.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2000 Chrysler 300 with the 3.5-liter engine and 71,000 miles. The car runs great, but in the past few months the battery has gone completely dead when I didn’t drive it for 24 hours. My mechanic has changed the battery twice, the alternator once, and kept it overnight a couple of times. Another mechanic installed a battery charger that I have to plug in overnight. Both mechanics have said there is a “dead short” somewhere in the system. I don’t want to keep replacing parts. What can be wrong with it?
Dear Joseph: Your car has too much parasitic drain — and at this point in time I would suggest you find an ASE-certified technician in an AAA-approved shop in your area to make the proper repair. Ask your mechanic whether he is able to check the circuit that is causing the drain. He should connect an amp meter in series with the battery cable and monitor the current draw. The next step is to check all fuses that have power with the key out of the ignition.
Dear Doctor: I have a 1998 Cadillac DeVille with 76,000 miles. The car often sits idle for a few weeks at a time and has always started OK, but now has an electrical problem. After $700, it seems that the remote receiver behind the back seat is part of the problem. I purchased a brand new one online, took it to him and after installing it, I drove home. Four days later the battery was dead. I charged it up, went back and he disconnected the receiver and we let it sit, the battery was still charged after 12 days. He then plugged it back in, and we got new remotes, but the battery again died after four days. When hooked up, the trunk, door locks, and gas door all work fine, but the battery dies. What is going on?
Dear Warren: Something in the car that requires power at all times is drawing down the battery. You cannot start removing modules or power boxes without knowing where the source of the drain is. Radios and satellite receivers have been an ongoing problem with a lot of older General Motors vehicles. Whatever the problem is, a qualified technician will need to troubleshoot it.
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