, Salem, MA


March 8, 2014

Auto Scanner: How to diagnose mystery light problem

Q: I own a 2002 Honda Accord, six-cylinder. The antilock braking system and traction control lights come on in the morning. We move the car back and forth and then turn off the car and turn on again, and the lights are gone. Apparently it only happens first thing in the morning. We just changed the alternator and the right front antilock braking system sensor, upper control arms with all joints and bushings. Have you heard of this problem?

A: This shouldn’t be too hard to track down. Leave the vehicle at a repair shop overnight. Before the car is started, the scanner should be put in the antilock brakes testing mode. Next, the technician sets the scanner to make a movie, which is a series of frames holding all the data. The technician will then road test the car, come back to the shop and review the data. This should end the mystery.

Q: Quick question regarding how long I should keep an open bottle of transmission fluid. On Sunday I noticed my Ford 500 was down a small amount of transmission fluid. I checked the manual to see what fluid to use, and it indicated that the correct fluid was Mercon/Dextron III fluid. So next I went to my automotive shelf in the basement to see what I had on hand and found an open bottle of trans fluid from 2004. I mark all my open bottles with the date and what vehicle they are for so that my wife or son would know what to use if they needed to add fluid to a vehicle when I was not around. My question is, should I keep the bottle of transmission fluid from 2004 or should I recycle it? I did buy a new bottle for use in my Ford 500. Is motor oil OK to use in opened containers as long as the rating is OK, or does it have a shelf life as well?

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