, Salem, MA


March 8, 2014

Auto Scanner: How to diagnose mystery light problem


A: If you think there is a chance that moisture got into the oil, you should discard it. After nine years of being open, I don’t think I would use the transmission fluid you refer to.

Q: I have a 1998 Grand Marquis with 82,000 miles. I’ve owned the car for about three years. I noticed the coolant is a dark color, and this bothers me. I was thinking about having the system flushed. Could this possibly do any damage to the heater core? Should the thermostat be changed at the same time? Also, with this type of mileage what do you think about changing the water pump?

A: The car is very overdue for a coolant flush. You may experience coolant leaks once you do a flush. The leaks would occur if the dirt or sediment that is in your system now is blocking a leak; a flush may create that problem. Yes to the thermostat as well. There is no need to change the water pump unless it is leaking or the vehicle is not circulating the coolant.


Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to

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