Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 17, 2014

TOM'S CORNER: Bringing your own parts to repair shop is a bad idea

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — •••

SHARI FROM NEW YORK CITY: I would like to know if you could tell me the difference between a powertrain warranty and a drivetrain warranty, please?

TOM: Powertrain includes all components that power the car, IE: engine, turbo or super charger (if equipped), and all related engine componentry. Drivetrain usually relates to the transmission, differential/s, axles, wheels, and anything else that drives the car forward through gears and axles. I hope this helps clear things up a bit.

•••

JIM FROM CHATTANOOGA, TENN.: My ‘98 Ford Contour has a problem; the headlights are dim. I’ve replaced the bulbs, but they still don’t work like they should. One of my friends told me it might be a grounding problem, but I wouldn’t know how to fix it. Can you help me?

TOM: The headlights are grounded on the front header panel (where the radiator support is located). Get a wiring schematic book to locate the headlight ground harness. It’s usually located somewhere to the left (passenger’s) side of the car. If you find a loose ground, then remove it, clean the paint from the metal, re-secure the connector with an oversize self-tapping screw, and insulate the connection with grease. By the way, while we’re talking about headlights on this car, did you know that there was a recall for the headlight switch? (Recall # 99V103000: Headlamp Switch Open Circuit). Call your local Ford dealer and have them check your vehicle’s VIN to see if this work has been done. If not, get it done. There will be no charge for the repair.

The problem of dim headlights could also be yellowed headlight lenses. Quite often the plastic of the headlight lens yellows over time due to exposure to UV rays and roadway dirt & chemicals kicked up on the lens. Look closely at the lens, if the surface is rough and yellow, buy a headlight lens cleaning kit from Turtle Wax (any parts store will have it). The process is a three step one that includes buffing the lens with a slightly rough emery cloth to remove the rough surface and clear the yellowed plastic, next a smoother emery cloth to buff the lens and make it smooth again, then a final super smooth buff, cleaner and sealer to seal and protect the lens once it is restored to clear. This often restores headlight candlepower very effectively on yellowed headlight lenses.

Tom

‘Til next time ... Keep Rollin’

“America’s Car Show” with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

"America's Car Show" with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

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