Automotive Column 41 Haunted Van
From Under the Hood Show
Syndicated Newspaper Column
A vehicle that has systems activate themselves can be frustrating but also dangerous. This can indicate a short in a system or other failures and should be checked right away.
CAR QUESTIONS TAKEN FROM
OUR WEEKLY TALK RADIO SHOW
Dear Motor Medics,
I may have a ghost? I have one in my 1999 Caravan. When I’m driving it does things by itself like honk the horn, the cruise will just shut off by itself, and the air bag light will come on and then go back off. There’s no pattern to this but it seems to happen at the worst times. I was driving through a parking lot and everyone thought I was honking at them. Once my horn started honking by itself at 2am and woke up my neighbors. Can you help me bust this ghost?
Clarence in Sheldon Iowa
Ghosts scare me so you’re on your own! Kidding aside, I think I can help and maybe with a free repair. The first thing I would have you do is to contact your local Dodge dealer and give them your vehicle identification number found at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side. Ask them if there is a clock spring recall on your van. If there is one that has not been done then the repair may be free. If not, you’ll have to pay for the repair but it is likely what’s causing the problems you are describing. The clock spring is what makes the connection between the steering wheel electronics and the column. When you turn the wheel the wires coil up and with age can break or short causing your issues. Hopefully this busts your ghost.
Take care, the Motor Medics
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.