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Lack of A/C Cold: Check Compressor, Refrigerant

By Junior Damato, July 30th, 2016

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. The air conditioning light on the panel doesn't stay green, but rather it goes on and off. When the light stays green the a/c works but it's not that cold. When the light goes off the a/c doesn't work at all. Over the years I have had the control module on the panel assembly replaced twice. Also, the a/c doesn't work from all the different fan settings. Is the panel assembly bad? Bob

Manufacturer photo: 2002 Chevrolet Malibu
Manufacturer photo: 2002 Chevrolet Malibu

strong>Dear Bob: There is a long ongoing problem of air conditioning panel failures on these vehicles regarding the blinking a/c light. With your lack of cold air issue I recommend you first check the refrigerant level and the compressor operation. Many owners try to recharge the a/c systems with the small refrigerant cans sold at any auto parts store. However, at my shop we always evacuate the system and start with the correct amount of refrigerant. Too little or too much refrigerant will cause warm air to blow. In some vehicles, the technician can retrieve trouble fault codes from the system to help resolve the problem. The lack of a/c from various blower fan speeds is from either the blower resistor/connector or the switch/harness.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 1997 Chevy 3500 pickup truck with an automatic transmission and 130,000 miles. Several times over the past year the engine will not start. It barely turns over. When I shift out of park and into first gear and then back to park the engine sometimes starts right up. The service station tried several ways to duplicate the problem but had no luck. They tested the battery, all connections, grounds and the charging system. Everything tested good. The battery is five years old and the starter is original. Could the problem be a neutral safety switch or relay switch? Lenny

strong>Dear Lenny: The function of the neutral safety switch is to cut the power off the starter, not to limit power when in neutral or park. Before anything is replaced, check the battery voltage and perform a load test. Next, check the connections of the power and ground cables, along with the alternator output. Battery life average is usually three to five years, though some batteries can go longer. If you need a new battery, then I advise to purchase a 1,000 cold cranking amp battery.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 1996 GMC Jimmy. The rear door glass and liftgate do not open with the key, the dash, or the rear door buttons. It makes a release sound when activated, but the glass won't unlock. How do I remove the inner panel of the gate/door? Nick

strong>Dear Nick: Removing the rear tailgate inside plastic door panel is not a hard job -- it just takes time. In some cases, you can start from the top plastic trim and work down. Remove the retaining screws, and then use the trim panel removal tool to remove the panel. If this seems a bit much, check with a good local shop for their help.

strong>Dear Doctor: I am leasing a 2016 Honda Civic. During the first few weeks when I went out to start the car the trunk was open. And on one occasion all four windows were completely down. The dealer could not find anything wrong. Since then the same occurrences have happened over and over again. Any suggestions you can offer me? By the way, this is my third Honda Civic and I never had this problem before. Richard

strong>Dear Richard: This is not the first time I've heard of this issue regarding Honda windows opening while the car is parked. This was brought to my attention several years ago from an employee who owns a Honda Pilot. On several occasions, with the most recent occurring two weeks ago, the windows open without owner intervention. My thoughts are that the body control module is either picking up a stray signal or there is a voltage spike that excites the module to open the windows. I would like to be more helpful, however, we have not been able to track down information from Honda.

strong>Dear Doctor: I see a lot of Bumper Bully's on many new cars for protection against scratches or bangs on the rear bumper. My mechanic advised me that if I should buy a bumper bully that I not leave it on all of the time, especially driving on highways because the bumper bully straps that come out from the trunk can also scratch the rear bumper. What are your thoughts on this? Norman

strong>Dear Norman: I also see many car owners using bumper protectors, as well as front bra covers for the front bumpers and front hood sections. The problem that can occur is from the constant movement of the protectors and dirt and debris that gets between the protector and paint finish. Over time this will damage the paint finish.

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