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Weigh Cost of Pricey Part to Value of Car

By Junior Damato, March 30th, 2019

strong>Dear Doctor: I have 2010 Ford Edge with 176,000 miles. Should I replace the water pump before it leaks? I heard that this 3.5-liter engine could be damaged if it starts leaking. John

Manufacturer photo: 2010 Ford Edge
Manufacturer photo: 2010 Ford Edge

strong>Dear John: A water pump replacement on these engines is very expensive, costing more than $1,000. And yes, if the pump fails and coolant leaks into the engine, then the engine will become damaged -- and in some cases it can be destroyed. With your Ford Edge being nine years old, having 176,000 miles, and needing an expensive part replacement, now is a good time to ask yourself if you really want to keep this car.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2009 Ram 1500 with 79,000 miles in excellent shape. Recently when the low beams are on and I turn on the high beam, all the lights go out; even the fog lights. Total darkness. Is that a switch problem? Or, is it something more serious? Will it be a costly repair? The new headlight bulbs are less than a year old. The Ram headlights were already very dim -- and still remain dim, even after the bulbs were replaced. Sandy

strong>Dear Sandy: There is no question that Dodge has had problems with the headlight switch on many vehicles. The most common repair is to replace the headlight switch. With this said, the technician should first connect a professional scan tool and check for fault codes in the body control module. Next he will turn on the headlight switch and see if the module is receiving the command from the headlight switch to turn on the headlights. Both Alldata and Identifix list the correct troubleshooting procedure for this problem for your technician to follow.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2001 Chevy Corvette with 47,000 miles, which I have owned for about one year. The ABS and traction control lights have both come on. The code is reading c1214. The previous owner has records showing he bought an ABS module from eBay and had it installed by his mechanic. I have removed the module myself and had it sent out to be rebuilt. The company recommends a surge protector for an additional fee. Do you suggest I buy it? And is this problem ever really going away? Kevin

strong>Dear Kevin: Electric modules are very sensitive to voltage spike damage. I am completely in favor of any voltage safety precautions to help prevent damage to any module or computer. A surge protector may also be part of the warranty of the repaired module.

strong>Dear Doctor: When experiencing a flat tire out on the road is there any problem using a Slime tire sealant product? Or do you recommend using a tire plug instead? Ron

strong>Dear Ron: A punctured tire does need to be repaired by a service professional. The installation of any stop leak product is for temporary use only. Two types of tubeless tire repair are possible: The first is a plug that's installed from the outside by being pushed into the hole. The second is an inside patch. The inside patch requires more labor and is more expensive. We offer either and the majority of customers just want to plug the tire. I personally like the inside flat patch method that also has plug that is pulled from the inside out as well as the sealing of the flat patch against the inside of the tire. Whichever you choose, remember the speed rating of the tire is now void.

strong>Dear Doctor: My 1994 Dodge Caravan won't start when temperatures are below 41 degrees. My mechanic has tried, but can't find the cause. What should we look for? Ed

strong>Dear Ed: This should be a simple repair. Your mechanic needs to have the minivan while morning temperatures are cold. The mechanic will connect a professional scan tool to your Caravan in the "vehicle specific mode." And then turn the key to the "on" position without starting the engine, and look at all the input sensor values. Next task is to compare all the values to what the actual specs should be, especially the engine coolant sensor (ETC). All sensor values can be found on Alldata and Identifix. Your car is not OBDII compliant and will require a scan tool that is OBDI compliant. This troubleshooting may require a qualified technician who is ASE certified and understands how the electronic fuel injection system operates.

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