Fix of The Week 5/03/19
Fix of The Week
Every week we’re posting our favorite head-scratchers and interesting mechanical issues submitted by our Direct-Hit customers.
For a chance to have something you’ve worked on appear as a Fix of the Week, and win a cool little prize for your shop, all you have to do is post your unique fixes in Direct-Hit. Just look up the vehicle you’re working on, click on Post Fix at the top right, then tell us the problem and what you did to fix it.
This Week’s Winners
On this edition of Fix of The Week: a bad sensor in a Mazda, rusty brakes in a Buick, and wonky brake lights in a Hyundai.
2006 Mazda 3 – Ivy Truman Automotive
The customer said that the car was hard to start sometimes and occasionally runs rough with black smoke issuing from the exhaust when that happens. They also said that if they turned the car off and on again, it would run fine for a while.
We found code p0118 for Engine Coolant Temp circuit high voltage in the vehicle history. After letting the car cool down overnight, we hooked up a graphing multimeter with a 0-5v scale and 5–minute time base to the white signal wire at the ECT sensor. We started the car and watched the meter as it warmed up. There were multiple temperatures where the sensor open circuited (spiked to 5v on the meter) and the car would run roughly every time there was a spike. We then verified the wiring was good, so we knew for sure it was a bad sensor. We replaced the ECT sensor and the car runs fine.
2006 Buick Lucerne – Crafton Auto Care
This vehicle’s brake lines were rusted out and leaked all fluid out of master cylinder—there were essentially no brakes on the car when it came into the shop. We checked the brake lines and filled the master cylinder to not damage the seals when the car was sitting, checked brake pads and rotors and found front pads low rears were OK.
We replaced all the brake lines, including lines from master to ABS unit, and to all wheels. We also replaced the front pads machined rotors, after trying to bleed the brakes several times. Bleeding and testing the master cylinder found that the rear calipers had both top slide pins seized, which caused a low brake pedal. We removed the slides, cleaned and lubed—problem fixed.
2012 Hyundai Sonata – E & J Auto Repair
The customer stated that the car slowed down when the headlights were turned on. We checked for codes but found none, and the battery and alternator passed tests. We did find shorted brake light bulbs, however, and after we replaced them the problem went away!
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