Q: I purchased a used 2010 Grand Caravan from a Mitsubishi dealer in late 2010. I recently had to have the car towed to the dealer because it would not start (completely dead). The dealer charged me $145 and said the ground cable was loose at the transmission, and it took them awhile to find the problem. A week later, the same problem happened. The Mitsubishi dealer requested I tow it to a Dodge dealer because they had better diagnostic equipment for the Dodges. The Dodge dealer said the no start was caused by an aftermarket key that was programmed by the Mitsubishi dealer, which caused a failure of the control module. Also, a new genuine key had to be made. The Mitsubishi dealer says they use aftermarket key blanks all the time without problems. What are your thoughts on this problem?
A: I believe the Mitsubishi dealer missed the problem when they blamed the problem on the ground cable. I find it strange that a ground cable would be loose on this 21/2-year-old car unless there was major surgery done to this car before you purchased it. Did you get a vehicle history report? Finally, I believe the Mitsubishi dealer should give you a refund due to the missed diagnostics. Let us know how you make out.
Q: I hope you can help me. On two different occasions, a couple of months apart, I tried to start my ‘98 Camry, and nothing happened. It acted like my battery was dead, but I had the different lights on the bottom of the dash, plus my electric windows worked and the horn worked. Still, when I tried to start the car with the key, nothing happened. I called AAA and waited almost an hour still trying the key start, and it finally started on its own. The second time this happened, it was the same thing. Nothing happened when I turned the key. I called AAA again and after trying to start the car for about 20 minutes, road service came and I told him the problem, then I turned the key and it started right up. Nobody can seem to identify this problem, and I’m open for suggestions as to what I can do to start the car myself instead of just waiting.
Thanks for anything you can say to help me out.
A: I took a look through the ALLDATA database. There is no one particular common problem to this car for a no-start condition. However, it has been my experience that the ‘98 Camrys exhibiting this kind of problem are suspect for a starter replacement. An hour or so of testing should reveal the actual problem. Hopefully, the car has clean battery cables.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears most Tuesdays. Write to Larry at the Gloucester Daily Times, c/o Auto Scanner, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.