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How to Make Your Car Last Forever: Auto Q&A with Tom Torbjornsen | Business

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How to Make Your Car Last Forever: Auto Q&A with Tom Torbjornsen

Dear Tom,

I own a ’98 Dodge Neon with 97,000 miles. A few days ago while driving, I noticed that the battery light was on and all the gauges were going crazy (up and down). This happens only when the vehicle is in motion. I tested the battery and it’s good. What’s causing the problem?

Louis from Baltimore, MD


If the battery light and all the gauges act up at the same time, then you have a wiring problem. There is either a bad ground or bad power wire going to the instrument cluster. Unless you have access to wiring diagrams and the proper test equipment, you need to get the car to a shop capable of performing electrical repairs. Don’t go too long with this condition because it could cause a voltage spike and take out some expensive electrical components.



Dear Tom,

I own a ’97 Dodge Intrepid with 135,000 miles. Last winter I had no heat. If I put the car on re-circulate, it gets lukewarm (nothing to brag about). I do not have fogging windows or water in the floorboard indicating the heater core is bad. I checked the fresh air vent on the passenger’s side and it is closing properly. I ran the diagnostic on the heater control and it passed. I have noticed a small leak on the intake manifold gasket at the front. Could that cause the problem or should I look for something else? I have also installed a new thermostat. Please help!

Chris from West Helena, MO


Check the heater hoses for equal warmth; both should be hot to the touch. If one is cold and the other warm/cool, then the heater core is plugged with sediment. Try a reverse flush of the heater core. If the core is circulating water, then I would check for a faulty air blend door in the duct system, which would prevent hot air from entering the vehicle’s cabin. Success to you.


For more great advice from auto expert Tom Torbjornsen, visit the America’s Car Show website atwww.americascarshow.com or become a a fan on Facebook for frequent updates. You can also hear Tom’s radio show at noon EST Saturdays on the SSI Radio Network and at 10 p.m. EST Sundays on Stars Too — Sirius 108 & XM 139. And, pick up a copy of Tom’s latest book, “How to Make Your Car Last Forever,” on Amazon.com. Follow Tom’s Q&A blogs every week on WGRZ.com, Buffalo.com and Examiner.com.

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