Thursday, November 24, 2011

Using Google to determine vehicle problems

The other day as I was driving away I heard a ding from the car but due to the sunlight I could not see what light showed up on my dahsboard. I pulled into the gas station down the street near the air and water section to grab the vehicle manual.

There is a page that shows all the icons for the lights appearing on the dashboard. Finally I identified engine, otherwise known as malfunction indicator light. This is part of the OBD - onboard diagnostic system that monitors engine and automatic transmission control systems. It mentioned if the light is on to have the condition checked promptly.

There was also mention that this indicator light could mean poor fuel quality or loose/missing gas cap. The vehicle should be serviced if the light stays on through several of your typical driving cycles. In most situations the vehicle will drive normally and not require towing.

This made me feel better but I was still leery to head onto the freeway and go to the gym. None of the lights had ever come on before and I bought the vehicle at a Ford Dealership three years ago, although it is a Dodge Caravan Sport. I also did not renew my AAA membership since I was no longer needing towing services like my previous minivan.

The manual also listed below this section that the light can flash and that could lead to immediate loss of power. I did not like that message. I remembered the previous day driving through the city streets and feeling like the car might stall, especially when I hit every red light.

This reminded me of my other two minivans that had radiator problems and always needing a tow in the summer time from summer camp. I thought adding a quart of oil would be in order as I had checked a few days earlier and noted to buy some soon. After shelling out almost five dollars at the gas station I realized there is an indicator light for needing oil. I also added one litre of water that I had in my gym bag.

I did not feel comfortable driving the distance to the gym and then grocery shopping so headed to a nearby grocery store to do some shopping. I really wanted to get home to check google to see what I could find. I felt like I learned so much from my research. I now know that you can put the key into the ignition and turn it without powering up the vehicle and turn it off several times before a code will show up in the odometer section. I was shown two codes and then done.

I researched the codes P 1684 and P 0304. There was one site that told me 19 Dodge mechanics were online. I posted my question about the two codes and got a reply with a picture of a mechanic and a message that he could offer assistance and if I was satisfied with response I would pay $36. I closed that up but thought that was a good idea for making income.

P 1684 said that the battery had been disconnected and P 0304 that cylinder #4 was a misfire. The OBD codes. My neighbor was outside and showed me how to clean the battery section with a lemon and then twist off the cable. We did that and put them back on after cleaning before I checked for the codes and the second code was gone but not the code for the battery, but the engine light was no longer staying on.

I am so glad that google and the internet are around to help me deal with everyday issues instead of having to pay a dealer to do something that would take hours to wait and maybe something else would be required.

My teen son knows when we have a problem we go to google.