An older Pontiac needs parts and repairs

Cars

AAA Northeast Automotive Physician John Paul answers a question from a reader wondering how to get parts now that Pontiac is gone.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

Q My daughter owns a 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT with AWD and keeps it well maintained. As Pontiac is no longer in business, obtaining certain parts can be problematic. His mechanic reported that his engine mounts are wearing out, but can’t find a replacement source for the Pontiac Vibe. As the Vibe is a close cousin to a Toyota Matrix, is it possible to use engine mounts for a Toyota Matrix?

A. You’re right that the Pontiac Vibe and the Toyota Matrix are almost identical cars except for the interior and the sheet metal. In fact, these cars were built side by side in the same assembly plant. Based on that, I’d say the Toyota engine mounts should be a perfect fit. A quick check of CARiD and RockAuto shows that the engine mounts are stock and have the same part number for the Vibe and the Matrix. I was chatting with the mechanic and asking if he would be willing to install the necessary parts if she purchased them.

Q I purchased a 2021 VW Arteon sedan service loan with 6,000 miles. The car runs great, but various systems, such as the navigation display, radio, lane assist, and traffic and sign recognition, only worked sporadically at 10,000 miles and then everything worked perfectly. Do you have any ideas as to why I encountered these technical issues?

A. Just like phones and computers, cars have both software and firmware updates. Depending on the vehicle, some of these updates are performed while the car is in service, and some are over-the-air updates. VW made an update to its Wi-Fi module and it noted that the module update “will enable future Over the Air (OTA) update functionality of various control modules.”

Q I have a 2017 Ford Edge that I purchased from Hertz in 2019 with 31,273 miles. It was inspected by a repair shop before purchase. It has been properly maintained during my time as owner. When the car reached 64,930 miles in April (4,930 miles out of warranty), the check engine light came on. The code showed an engine misfire and at that time all ignition coils and spark plugs were replaced by an independent repair shop. Within days the light came back on and further diagnostic tests showed misfires in a single cylinder. After a few attempts, the coils were replaced with Ford parts. It went on for weeks until the repair shop suggested I call Ford. Over the phone, the Ford service advisor immediately diagnosed the problem as coolant contamination in the cylinders (obviously, they had seen that before). I took the vehicle to a Ford service center and they confirmed that I would need a new engine. After doing some research this seems to be a fairly common problem with the Edge 2.0L Eco-Boost engine after reaching 60,000-70,000 miles. It seems to me that a well-maintained 5-year-old engine that needs replacing would be a sign of a manufacturing defect, especially when Ford has issued at least 7 technician service bulletins regarding this issue even since 2018. When would NHTSA getting involved in a possible recall?

A. This engine along with the smaller 1.5 liter engine found in the Escape were prone to several engine issues. So far, to my knowledge, Ford only repairs these engines under the standard warranty. You’re certainly right, you’d expect a properly maintained engine to last at least 200,000 miles, not 65,000. Regarding an NHTSA recall, although the engine misfires, it apparently doesn’t fit within the category of a safety recall. In other words, the car doesn’t break down at highway speeds, causing a potential crash. That being said, I would still file a complaint with NHTSA. I would also consider suing Ford under a merchantability warranty. A warranty of merchantability is a type of warranty that affirms that goods are reasonably fit for the ordinary and intended use for which they are sold. Now, I’m hardly an advocate, but it seems to me that an engine that fails this early is not living up to its purpose.

Q I have a 10 year old GMC Yukon and the dome light does not work. Thinking it would be a bad bulb, I replaced it and it still didn’t work. I then checked all the fuses under the hood, and they all tested fine. For me, that leaves only a wiring problem. Is there a known area where the wiring fails that you can share?

A. I think you were on the right track with the fuses, but you had the wrong location. Like many vehicles, there is more than one fuse box. There is a 10 amp fuse for the dome light in the dashboard fuse panel. It’s always time to check all of a vehicle’s fuses if you don’t have a wiring diagram.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Automotive Physician. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is an ASE Certified Master Technician. Email your question to [email protected]. Listen to the Car Doctor podcast on johnfpaul.podbean.com.

About Dwight E. McCray

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