By Lena Thompson
So, some guy asked me if I only work on female cars, since I am “the diesel dyke.” The answer is no, but it brings me to another question. Are cars/trucks female or male, straight or gay?
I think it’s safe to say that the personalities of people are definitely reflected in their choice of vehicle. And there are Web sites that list the most popular LGBT vehicles, so there is something to say about vehicle preferences vs. the subculture we may belong to. Case in point: a friend asked me if I was going to Score nightclub on a Friday night. I told her I didn’t think it was gay on Fridays, only Saturdays, but I decided to drive by anyway, looking for a place to party. When I arrived in the parking lot, I got an immediate feeling that I had NOT arrived on lesbian night. Just looking at the types of vehicles, their make/model, color, condition É I could tell it was a “straight” night! I didn’t even have to go inside to confirm. The vibe was overwhelmingly hetero!
So, this brings me to the real questions of the day É
Dear Diesel Dyke,
You are the answer to my prayers, and I’m hoping that you can help a sistah out!
At varying speeds, my 2005 Mini Cooper S starts ticking. The sound is coming from around the left side of the dash. This sound is wholly unpredictable: high speeds, low speeds; cold winter days, warmer spring days; after startup on a cold engine and after I’ve been driving for half and hour and the engine’s warmed up.
The problem is that the mechanics at the local dealership (not the one from which I purchased the car) cannot reproduce the sound. I’m sure it’s a minor repair, and I suspect that it stems from a repair that the dealer I bought it from had to undertake a week after I got the car: its sunroof was leaking and the mechanics had to tear off the headliner and lift up the dash panel, too.
Do you have any ideas?
My first guess is that this noise IS related to the dash panel work, especially if you did not have that noise before the last repair. Too bad it happened so soon after purchase, then you would definitely know it was from the last repair.
Body interior noises can be a pain to diagnose, because they are usually a reaction to something else that is vibrating. But, I suspect that whatever they loosened up behind that dash is now being aggravated by some other vibrations from your engine (and different frequencies set it off). Unfortunately, the duplication part sucks. That can be a technician’s worst problem to overcome and most times it cannot be overcome if the concern is not duplicated. But a good thorough visual inspection of the dash area may turn up something obvious. They can perform wiggle tests and re-tighten dash bolts, etc..
I would also guess that a connector from a wiring harness is rattling against the body of the vehicle. They may have broken/lost some sort of harness retainer during the last repair. Bottom line: take it back to the people who did the work. They should not charge you if it’s related to something they messed up.
Dear Diesel Dyke,
I am having trouble out of my vehicle. It’s a Pontiac Bonneville 97. Something with the security system: it will not allow my car to start; only my security light flashes. What’s wrong, and how much should I be spending on this?
Many newer vehicles have what is called a Passive Anti-Theft System. These passive systems can disable the ignition, fuel injectors, or starter, if the correct ignition key is not used to start the vehicle. Active systems flash lights and horn, etc. Manufactures have many ways to accomplish the disable feature, but the principle is the same: your ignition key has a resistor built into it that is read by some hardware at or near the ignition switch. The resistance signal is sent to a computer that contains the theft-system software (it varies as to what module: powertrain control module, instrument cluster or a stand-alone anti-theft module, etc.). The module will determine if the key you are using contains the correct resistor and allow your car to start. If it is not the right key or the transmission of data is interrupted, your engine may start and immediately die or not crank at all. Your technician will be able to determine what to troubleshoot, by the state of the theft light (flashing, solid) and any diagnostic trouble codes he/she may pull. Your concern could be due to the key itself, wiring, module hardware or software — so the price for repair can vary. Make sure to get an estimate before any work is performed. It is customary to be charged at least one hour for diagnostics.
Take care! Diesel-Dyke