An­swers to your car ques­tions


The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS - PS Read­ers, Please be ad­vised that all emails can­not be an­swered. Send your ques­tions (be sure to in­clude your ad­dress) by email to: den­nis.osul­li­van@co­ or mail: Box 10019, Wi­nona, ON L8E 5R1


I have a 1994 Sonoma pickup truck and a prob­lem with its right sig­nal flasher. It works fine in day­light hours but at night, when I turn my head­lights on, it lights up on the dash but does not work when I go to use it. At first I thought it was just a blown bulb so my neigh­bour changed both front and back bulbs. At first we thought that fixed the prob­lem be­cause it worked in the day­time. At night, when I went to use it, it did not work. The next day my brother put in a new flasher and it worked un­til I turned my head­lights on for night driv­ing. When I turn the head­lights on, the sig­nal lights up on the dash but when I go to use it, it doesn’t work. My brother thinks that there is a short some­where. Other than this prob­lem, the truck starts and runs great. Do you have any idea what may be caus­ing this? What is the best way to find out for sure why this is hap­pen­ing? I read your col­umn in the news­pa­per all the time but I’ve never seen any­thing about this type of prob­lem. I sure hope that you can help me out.

Grace from Hamil­ton


Your brother sounds like he has some me­chan­i­cal ap­ti­tude so I want you to tell him that the ground wire for the head­lights is most likely not mak­ing con­tact caus­ing a feed­back to the sig­nal­ing sys­tem. Your truck does not have a short­ing prob­lem but it does have a ground­ing prob­lem. Fol­low the black ground wire from one of the head­lights to where it makes con­tact with the body of the truck. The ground con­tact will be some­where around the ra­di­a­tor sup­port of the truck. Clean off that con­tact and it should solve your prob­lem. If it does not then con­tact me again and we will find out where the ground­ing prob­lem is.


I had to re­place the U-joint on my 2000 Dodge truck about two weeks ago and ever since that time I have been get­ting a bad vi­bra­tion at around sixty kilo­me­ters per hour. I have been back to the garage twice and they now tell me that the drive shaft is bent and that has noth­ing to do with the re­placed U-joint. I went to an­other shop and they told me that the front U-joint is seized and needs to be re­placed. My point is that the garage re­placed the wrong U-joint and I am now stuck with hav­ing to re­place the one that was needed all along. The garage tells me that it was the rear U-joint that was bad and they did not feel that the front one was in need of re­place­ment at the time. Could you look into this for me to see if I got ripped off?

Thanks Danny from Dundas


I spoke to both garages and the garage that re­placed your truck’s rear U-joint did so at your re­quest. Ap­par­ently, the place where you had the last oil change told you that the rear U-joint was de­fec­tive and needed to be re­placed. You then bought the rear U-joint your­self and asked your garage to in­stall it. It sounds rea­son­able to sug­gest that the garage did ex­actly as you had asked them to do. When I spoke to the garage that de­tected the worn front U-joint, they told me that the front U-joint was seized and would have been hard to miss if it was checked when the drive shaft was re­moved. That point I agree with. There is no ques­tion that the garage that re­placed your truck’s rear U-joint, whether you told them to re­place it or not, should have de­tected that the front U-joint was also in need of be­ing re­placed. The garage that re­placed your truck’s rear U-joint has agreed that if you pur­chase the front U-joint, they will re­place it free of any labour charge. This sounds like a win for you!


I want to thank you and the Spec­ta­tor for help­ing me re­solve my fac­tory war­ranty prob­lem with my new car. I am sure that if you had not in­ter­vened on my be­half, I would not have had such a fa­vor­able re­solve. I know that my dealer did ev­ery­thing that they could but it was not un­til you got in­volved that things started to quickly move along and was re­solved to my sat­is­fac­tion. Thanks again!

Mar­ion from Bin­brook

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