DR. Gizmo Part IV Page 3

January 3, 2010

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe FWD 4-door Auto SE Angular Rear Exterior View

I spoke to my local mechanic.  He says he wont be able to determine the cause of the trouble unless the engine wont start for him.  I'm concerned that eventually I will be stranded.  Whats the problem?  F., email

Answer 5

Your mechanic has a valid point.  He could only guess why the engine does not start.  This would result in needless installation of parts without fixing the trouble.  This could cost you a bundle.

You might ask your mechanic to check the battery cables for corrosion and security.  If corrosion has impaired the cables, he should remove them from the battery and remove all corrosion from the battery terminals and cable ends. 

He might consider checking connections at the starter motor for security and corrosion.  He may find a loose connection that needs tightening or other conditions that impair operation. 

Performing these checks will at least rule out possible causes and he may find the source of the trouble.  If so, a simple turn of a nut might be the fix.

Its also possible a scan of computers might find a problem such as a faulty ignition switch or maybe there is a problem in the theft deterrent system.  If so, he may be able to cure the trouble without having to do guess work.

Cost Of Repair Exceeds Vehicle Market Value

Question 6

Recently, I took my 1993 Chevrolet Caprice for a state emissions test.  It failed.  My car has a 5.0-liter V-8 engine and 194,000 miles.  It has never failed me since the day I purchased it in 1993.  Because it failed tests, I took it to my favorite repair shop.  A very reliable mechanic checked it over.  He determined that the engine is suffering from excessive wear.  He said he could repair the trouble, but to do so will cost a lot more than the car is worth.

I love my car.  I have taken great care of it all of these years.  There has never been any trouble with the transmission or anything.  Everything works great.  Other than the worn engine, it drives and looks almost like new.  There is nothing made today that is comparable to my car.

Should I fix her up? S.K., email

Answer 6

The market value of a car similar to yours in excellent condition without engine problems is probably close to $2,300.  To repair the engine could easily top that.  In addition to this, no one can predict what will happen to your car in the future.  The trouble is that overhauling or replacing the engine might just be the beginning of a long list of repairs.  The transmission could fail at any time.  There may be issues in the suspension such as worn bushings and ball joints.  The springs that support the vehicle more than likely need replacement.  Brake hydraulic lines more than likely need replacement due to corrosion.  The air conditioning system may fail. 

My vote is to say good-bye to your long time friend before it becomes a never-ending cycle of expensive repairs.  If you decide to part with your car, you may be surprised at what a new Impala has to offer.  Not only is it similar in many respects to your present vehicle, but the fuel economy it achieves surpasses your present vehicle by a long shot.

Thanks for all of your great questions.  Dr. Gizmo cant wait to answer more.

Phil Arendt is a columnist, consultant and A.S.E.-Certified Master Technician.  Readers may send questions to Dr. Gizmo at P.O. Box 548, Cary, IL. 60013 or e-mail address drgizmo@drgizmo.ws.  12/14/2009 ® DR. GIZMO © 1989-2009

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