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Got Electrical Glitches? Check Memory

By Junior Damato, March 9th, 2019

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has been in the shop six times over the past two years for an electronic glitch. When the glitch happens, the displays go haywire, the gears shift randomly, and the windshield wipers turn on. None of the these symptoms can be controlled manually, but after 3 to 5 minutes the car runs normally (usually with blank displays), until the car is parked and turned off. Most of the time, things are back to normal when it starts again. Twice, the Jeep has remained non-responsive after parking and required towing to the dealer. I've gone as long as a year without this problem happening, but it recently cropped up again. Each time, I think the Jeep might be fixed, but it happens again. What should I do? Kristin

Manufacturer photo: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Manufacturer photo: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

strong>Dear Kristin: There is no question your Jeep has an electrical issue. It could be a single issue causing the problem, or multiple issues. The first thing is to check for any trouble fault codes in the body control module. Then remove both battery cables, wait two hours and put both cables together for 5 seconds; this will empty the computer memory, and sometimes will eliminate troubling bad habits of the vehicle. Call the dealer with your VIN number and ask whether there are any recalls, or whether software programming is needed.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2013 Dodge Charger R/T with the 5.7L engine. It has 31,500 miles and the five-speed transmission. I've read that the engine should get about 20 to 24 mpg on the highway. I check the fuel economy readout on the dashboard when I'm on the highway and I'm averaging only 15 to 16 mpg. The engine is completely stock, except I did change the factory spark plugs to aftermarket E3-68 plugs. I also use 89-octane fuel. Please help me get better mileage. Steve

strong>Dear Steve: The 20 to 24 mpg estimated fuel economy would be under perfect conditions, such as driving under 65 mph on flat roads. The tire size, profile, and air pressure also affect gas mileage, as does the seasonal time of the year. I recommend you take a long highway ride and recheck the gas mileage. Full-synthetic oil can also improve fuel mileage. Make sure both the air filter and air filter inlet are clean, plus ensure your tires are filled to the correct pressure.

strong>Dear Doctor: I had the oil and filter changed at the dealer for my 2013 Chevrolet Malibu at 19,230 miles. The vehicle has a monitor that displays when to change the oil. I've been waiting for the light to come on, but it hasn't, so I checked my last invoice and it's been 13 months since the last oil change. The dealer said it needs to be done yearly, regardless of miles driven. Is he right? Herb

strong>Dear Herb: Most of today's vehicles have maintenance reminders that suggest service, such as oil changes, tire rotation and other services. The reminder looks at accumulated mileage and time to determine when the computer turns on the reminder light. The owners manual will also have recommended service suggested with time and mileage. Because oil develops acidity over time, which can damage the engine, it's my recommendation to change the oil and filter twice a year using the factory recommended oil.

strong>Dear Doctor: What is your opinion on lifting the windshield wipers before it snows or when there's freezing ice? Wouldn't that be stretching out the spring that keeps them on the windshield? Michael

strong>Dear Michael: Raising the wipers is a practice we recommend anytime there is snow or freezing rain predicted. I have done this since 2005 on our family vehicles and have never had any wiper arm spring issues.

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2018 Subaru Crosstrek has EyeSight with Pre-Collision Braking that automatically applies full-braking force in emergency situations. EyeSight also has Lane Keep Assist that slightly tugs the steering wheel for correction when the driver veers out of the lane; this can be disabled with a toggle switch to provide only an audible alert. If the steering correction feature is disabled, does this also disable the automatic braking? I would prefer not to have Lane Keep Assist tug, but I don't want to disable automatic full braking. Is there a way to do this? Rosanna

strong>Dear Rosanna: You may be able to reconfigure the EyeSight settings in the dash cluster. I recommend you go to the dealer and consult with the service advisor to assure this is done properly.

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