Q: I have a 2006 Honda CRV that we purchased new. We could not use our phone charger in the car from day one, but my husband could in his Honda Civic, and I could in my previous car, which was a Hyundai Elantra. The service department told my husband that it was a Verizon problem, and when my husband called the Honda headquarters, he was told the same thing. This did not make sense to me since we could use it in our other cars. I wish I had thought to contact you then! A few months later, my husband got a portable GPS and couldn’t charge that in the CRV either but could in his Civic. Since the GPS has nothing to do with Verizon, he talked to the service department again and they put in a new fuse and told him to put the charger in the receptacle but not to push it all the way in, and that this is a problem with the CRV models. We are very happy with the car in general and normally with the service department, but I am not sure what to make of this situation and their explanation. I would very much appreciate your feedback regarding this matter.
A: Here is how it should have gone. Bring the car into the shop and check the system. If power and ground are present, replace the receptacle with a factory unit. If the factory unit has a problem, then buy a new universal one at your local auto parts store and install the new part. Now all is well. If that were done, the customer would be happy and would return for service as needed and most likely return to the dealership when it is time to replace the vehicle.
Q: I purchased a used 2010 Grand Caravan from a Mitsubishi dealer in late 2010. I recently had to have the car towed to the dealer because it would not start (completely dead). The dealer charged me $145 and said the ground cable was loose at the transmission, and it took them awhile to find the problem. A week later, the same problem happened. The Mitsubishi dealer requested I tow it to a Dodge dealer because they had better diagnostic equipment for the Dodges. The Dodge dealer said the no start was caused by an aftermarket key that was programmed by the Mitsubishi dealer, which caused a failure of the control module. Also, a new genuine key had to be made. The Mitsubishi dealer says they use aftermarket key blanks all the time without problems. What are your thoughts on this problem?
A: I believe the Mitsubishi dealer missed the problem when they blamed the problem on the ground cable. I find it strange that a ground cable would be loose on this 21/2-year-old car unless there was major surgery done to this car before you purchased it. Did you get a vehicle history report? Finally, I believe the Mitsubishi dealer should give you a refund due to the missed diagnostics. Let us know how you make out.
Car Care Tip: An overheating engine should be shut down and the vehicle should be towed to the repair facility. Pushing it a bit further could cost you $3,000 for a new engine versus $30 for a thermostat.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.