Q: I have a 2001 Ford Taurus that has trouble starting. It wants to start; when I turn the key, the dashboard lights up and the engine makes a noise, but it will not turn over. It has been towed three times in the last month because of this. It has been to two different repair shops, and all tests show nothing wrong. One repair shop thinks it might be the fuel pump, but the diagnostic shows the fuel pump is working fine. Do you have any idea what may be the matter?
A: You have the most frustrating type of problem for a car owner. Intermittent problems are equally fussy for the technician. As I often have said, we have to duplicate the problem in order to repair the problem. A very common problem with your car is the fuel pump relay. However, this is not to say that is the problem. A test that we perform when a problem like yours comes along is called a wiggle test. That involves having a scanner hooked up to the vehicle’s computer. With the key on and engine off, we start to shake and twist all the wire harnesses with hopes that a circuit drops out. Also, tapping on the computer and fuel pump relays will sometimes show the problem. If this were my car and all the above tests showed no results, I would gamble on a fuel pump relay and keep a watchful eye for a repeat of the problem. When and if the problem returns, look at the instrument panel and be sure the check engine light glows when you turn on the key. That indicates the computer is getting power and turns on.
Q: My 2008 Ford Fusion has started making a squeaky, creaking noise coming from the front. It seems to happen when driving at slow speeds and while turning the steering wheel when parking. However, it doesn’t make the noise all the time. I looked online and found TSB 08-18-4 “Front Strut Noise” that pretty much describes the problem and how to fix it. My question is, would you know if this could be a safety hazard or if it is something that can be ignored? I drive 80 miles each day to and from work. As I said, it only makes the noise occasionally.