When trouble lights trouble you
I enjoy reading your newspaper article each week. I have a 2000 Buick Century that I use as a winter vehicle. It runs great and has never given me any trouble. I recently took it to a quickie lube and oil shop to have an oil change and lube performed, as well as to do a general check of the car. This is the first time that I’ve used one of the quickie shops. Trouble lights have shown up on the dash (“low tire”, “ABS”, “Trac off”, and “Service vehicle soon”). The shop did the service on the car but the trouble lights did not go off. They told me that I would have to take the car to a dealer to have them turned off. Does it make sense that only a dealer could turn the trouble lights off? I will likely sell the car in the near future and it is also likely that any potential buyer would be wary of all the warning lights being on. I’m also concerned about it myself. Thanks for any insight you might provide.
It does not surprise me that the lube shop cannot or does not have the equipment to reset the codes on your car because they are not generally licensed technicians. Any automotive garage should have the equipment to check and reset the codes for you. You may also find out that one of the sensors for the ABS system is defective which is triggering that light to come on or you may find that corrosion in one of the ABS connectors is triggering the ABS light to come on. It may also be just a glitch in the system that is triggering the warning lights to come on. The garage is going to be able to determine which wheel the ABS sensor is triggering the light. I would first check all your tires to make sure that they are inflated to the proper pressure and by the time this comes to print, you may find that the system has reset itself and the other warning lights have gone out themselves.
I purchased a 2005 Buick in 2005 from a GM dealership and the car has been a great car for me over the years. Unfortunately, about three weeks ago, I was involved in an accident and the body shop, when doing the estimate, told me that the car had been involved in an accident prior to this one. The car has been in my ownership since I purchased it and I now believe that the dealership intentionally sold me a car that they knew was involved in an accident. I called the dealership and they basically told me that they would not do anything for me nor would they look into it for me because most of the people at that time were either retired or moved on. I paid top price for this car and now feel that I got ripped off. Is it too late to fight this now?
Ron from Paris
I spoke to the owner of the body shop and he knew nothing of the allegation that your car was involved in an accident and he told me that he would get back to me the next day when he had time to look into it. He did get back to me the next day and told me that one of his body men had told you that your car had been in an accident since the right front fender, that was damaged in this accident, was not rust protected and the rest of the car was. His theory was that the fender must have been replaced since it was not rust protected like the rest of the car. He apologized for one of his men making a statement and then relaying that belief to you when there wasn’t any concrete evidence that the fender had been replaced. Maybe the people doing the rust protection forgot to rust protect that fender. At this time, there isn’t any way of knowing exactly why that fender was not rust protected but the body shop owner told me that the fender was in good condition prior to this last accident and there wasn’t any other tell tale signs that would indicate that the car was involved in an accident prior to this accident. The car has, in your words, been a great car so do not work yourself into a frenzy when there isn’t any tangible evidence that the car, that was sold to you, was involved in any type of accident prior to you purchasing it twelve years ago.
I put the rear brake shoes on my GM truck that still has the rear drums on the brakes. About two weeks after replacing the brake shoes, one of the rear wheels on the left side started to lock up on braking. When I removed the brake drum, I found that the rear axle was leaking and had saturated the shoes on the left side. Since the brake shoes are virtually new, I was going to clean them off and reuse them. My neighbor, who is just down the road and is a licensed mechanic, told me that I have to replace the shoes. I have cleaned off the shoes and they look like new again so is he right when he says that the shoes have to be replaced on both sides when they get covered in axle oil since the one side is okay?
Danny from Hamilton
Since the brake shoes are relatively new, you do not have to replace the shoes on the right side but you cannot buy only one side of the brake shoes anyways. The brake shoe material will absorb the axle oil and even though they look clean after you clean them up, the oil residue will show up again after a few braking applications. For this reason, cleaning the axle oil off the brake shoes will not work and you should change the brake shoes again.
I have been reading your Q&A column in the Waterloo Region Record’s ‘Wheels’ section for the past two years, since moving to Cambridge, Ont. from the GTA. I have been meaning to write to you for some time, simply to say I enjoy your weekly column. Also, I admire your fortitude in carrying on. I do wonder how you have the incentive to continue to investigate situations on behalf of readers, in view of your descriptions of misleading information that you have been given, by readers, in some instances. I have been a gear-head since my high school and university years, so from a technical aspect, I appreciate the advice that you give your readers, on various automotive topics. Keep up the good work.
Gregory from Cambridge
Thanks for your encouragement and support. It makes my time worthwhile when I can help someone that is really in need of my help.