Q: I have a 1996 Chevy Blazer with 109,000 miles, and every time it rains or the car sits for one or two days, it does not start until weather clears or is dry for one day. This has been going on for the last six months, and my repair shop cannot find anything wrong with the car when they have it for two or three days. Last time this happened was last Friday and Saturday. I had the car towed to their garage on Sunday, and when he started the car on Tuesday, the weather was good. Any ideas?
A: There are so many things that could cause this problem. Unless you have test gear attached to the vehicle to see if you have lost spark, fuel or fuel injector pulse, it’s a guessing game. The first thing I would ask you to do would be to watch the dashboard when you turn on the key. On these rainy days, is the check engine light on when you turn the ignition switch to the “on” position? If it’s not, you can expect a bad connection at the computer. The 1996 Blazer also uses a lot of relays in the ignition system, such as for the computer and fuel pump. So, if any water was entering into the relays, it may cause the car not to start. Now, the surefire way to diagnose the problem is as follows: When you know that rain or inclement weather is on the way, drop off your car at the repair facility. Let them look at the vehicle while the problem is present.
Car care tip: Next time your car is in for service, ask the technician to check your spare tire and tire-changing tools.
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 email@example.com.