- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008

Q. I own a 2006 Mercury Milan and have been having problems with the a/c that the dealer and the Ford Motor Company don’t seem to be able to diagnose. In hot humid weather when the sun is strong and I drive the car for about an hour at highway speeds, the cold air stops blowing.

One of the a/c lines under the hood (the fat one going from the front of the car back through the fire wall) freezes up with a quarter-inch of ice. What should I do?

A: The big hose is the suction hose low pressure; the small hose is the return high pressure. For ice to build up on the suction side indicates there is a restriction in the system or the compressor is not cycling as designed.

Most vehicles have a small orifice tube-type filter that gets plugged up over time from a failing a/c compressor. Evacuate the system and then check the orifice filter. There are a/c flush chemicals that work.

Check the local phone book for a shop that does a/c work.

Q: I own a 2003 Buick LeSabre that kills the battery overnight. I replaced the battery and the mechanic said everything is fine.

The problem persisted, so my son brought the Buick to his mechanic who found a short and repaired it. It worked for a while, but after the car sat for two weeks the battery was dead again.

I spoke with some friends and they said they’ve heard similar complaints. Where can I get some results?

A: Due to vehicle computers and electronics there is a constant drain on the battery, even with the ignition key off. This is called parasitic drain.

The normal amount of drain is 30-mili amps to a 75-mili amps. Correct battery replacement is very important.

You need to match and/or increase the cold-cranking power of the replacement battery. Your car should be able to sit for a month without the battery needing a jump.

There are many reasons why batteries drain in overnight. The technician will have to check the source of the parasitic drain using a digital amp meter.

Q: I have a 2003 Saab 9-5 with approximately 60,000 miles and an extended warranty until February 2009. In two separate places the clearcoat finish is peeling. The dealer told me that this is not a warranty item and would cost me $700 to have repaired.

Can you suggest how else I may approach this? I can’t believe that a five year old, luxury sedan with the clearcoat peeling isn’t anything but a defective issue.

A: Paint peeling problems have plagued many manufacturers for years. With the minimal cost of repair, the dealer and manufacturer should cover the paint problem out of goodwill.

The average car buyer is worth over $300,000 to the dealer over a lifetime of purchases and service. Remember this experience on your next purchase. You can also check with other local body shops for pricing.

Q: I am the original owner of a 2000 Chrysler 300M with about 79,000 miles on it. The following has begun to happen: the “low fuel” warning sound and light come on and the fuel gauge drops to empty. This occurs regardless of the amount of fuel in the tank. It happens more often when I start out on a trip and frequency reduces after awhile. I suspect a loose or poor connection in the wiring. Is there a particular location you think would be best to look at first?

A: The first step is to check the computer for trouble fault codes in the body control module. The fault would be a faulty sender vs. a bad wire connection. There is no tracing history listed on either Identifix or Alldata at this time. The car will have to be repaired by a mechanic or dealer.

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. E-mail questions to [email protected] or mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347.

MOTOR MATTERS


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