Engine Shut-off could be Ignition or Coolant Related

September 18, 2010/All Used Car Sales


Dear Doctor: I own a 1992 Lexus ES 300 with 102,000 miles. I was traveling for two hours on the highway with the outside temperature 103 degrees when the engine stopped. While coasting I turned the ignition to restart, but nothing, not even a click. The engine temperature gauge was normal. It was towed to a dealer where it started with no problem. Any ideas what the problem is? Pat
Dear Pat: I researched your issue on Identifix and found a few problems related to the coolant temperature sensor. I have also seen drivability, starting and stalling problems that do set any fault codes. There is also the possibility of an ignition failure. You will need to have a certified technician inspect your vehicle.
Dear Doctor: I own a 1998 Honda Accord. Occasionally it blows a 20-amp fuse that controls the automatic shift interlock, brake lights and horn. What is causing this fuse to go out? Roberto
Dear Roberto: You have to have a professional technician check where the short circuit is located. I have seen rear brake light bulbs and the brake light wire harness in the trunk cause shorts. I have yet to see a faulty shift interlock. If the problem was horn related it would blow the fuse when the horn pad is depressed.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2001 Cadillac Catera. My gas gauge showed a quarter tank of fuel remaining so I stopped to fill up, but the gas would not go into the tank. It filled up the filler tube and shut the nozzle off. A mechanic thought that there was an anti-siphon or check valve in the fill tube that was probably stuck. I beat on the tube several times and then was able to fill up. It ahs not happened again. Is there a check-valve device in the Catera fill tube? Norman
Dear Norman: All vehicles have some sort of anti-siphon device either at the gas tank inlet or bottom of the fill tube.

2001 Cadillac

This is a basic device to prevent gas spill in a rollover and gas backing up the fill tube. In some cases the valve is part of the fuel tank and cannot be purchased separately.
Dear Doctor: I have a 1997 Chevrolet Astro minivan that needs to pass state inspection, but every time I take it the computer reads not ready. It has not been ready in over a year. I have driven it hundreds of miles and still computer says not ready, I have also taken it to various mechanics and they can’t find the problem. It runs very well and has only 75,000 miles. I am the original owner. What can be the possible problem? Myrna
Dear Myrna: You have to take the van to a shop with a qualified technician who has an understanding of the computer system. All vehicles need to have all computer sensor systems in the correct parameter for the readiness monitors to set. There can be one or more pending fault codes that are causing the problem. Another common problem on some Astro minivans is a lack of communication between the emission tester and the van computer, however the van communicates with a scan tool fine. The emission tester uses a different protocol when looking for computer information.
Dear Doctor: My 2002 Honda Odyssey fuel and temperature gauges do not work properly. When the gas tank needle on the dash registers below half a tank the water gauge goes in the red. I already replaced the thermostat but the gas gauge and water gauges are still not registering properly. Also, when I put on new rotors and brakes they initially squeak for about 2,000 miles during the break-in period. Is this normal? Terri
Dear Terri: The first step is to check for fault codes. Identifix does list a lot of dash cluster and circuit board failures. Before any parts are replaced a full inspection of the circuits need to be done. A qualified technician should be able to follow a trouble flow chart. As for the brake squeak, if you use a good quality brake pad, correct anti-squeal paste on the pad backside and clean the rotors, then there should be absolutely no brake squeal at all. — Junior Damato, Motor Matters

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.

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