SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 23, 2013

Auto Scanner: How often should I change my antifreeze?

Auto Scanner
Larry Rubenstein

---- — Q: I have a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country with a little more than 20,000 miles. I was wondering how often the antifreeze should be changed?

A: Proper maintenance calls for a coolant flush and replacement every two years or 24,000 miles.

Q: I have a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country van that has an electrical problem. The radio, heater, wipers and door locks will not work after driving more than 200 miles. They will come on sometimes. It takes 10 to 20 miles, but they do come on. I have had it looked at on four occasions. The last time, they installed a body control module at a cost of $311. It did not fix the problem. In the last 10 days, everything works when I use the car. Can you help?

A: The body control module has been a big problem on the Town & Country, as well as the Caravan. However, installing a new module without doing the proper diagnostics can be expensive.

There are a few ways to diagnose this problem, but diagnostics are going to be very difficult when the problem is not present. The first step is to try to duplicate the problem in the shop by shaking and wiggling the wire harness and tapping on the steering column in the area of the ignition switch.

If that does not produce results, unplug the body control module and read the values of all the pins in the plug. There are a series of tests that can be performed on the system by using a DRB 3 Chrysler diagnostic computer.

A lot of the Chrysler problems we see that are electrical in nature have been traced to the wire harness in the area of the lower radiator. Examine that harness and look for green powder coming out from the black tape. Also, check all connections near the battery and at the firewall. This can be a dangerous situation if you find yourself in a rainstorm and the wipers decide not to work.

Find a shop in your area that has an ASE master technician on staff and uses the ALLDATA information system, as well. The shop may be able to pinpoint the origin of this problem by using wiring diagrams and pinpoint values. The diagnostics will take less time if the problem is present.

One final thought would be to check the power control panel under the hood. Look for loose wiring at the panel, and also listen carefully for a buzzing relay. Water intrusion to the power control panel will cause the problems you mentioned.

Car Care Tip: According to state law, studded snow tires must be off vehicles by April 30.

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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 scanauto@aol.com.