Auto Doc: Electrical issues with 2012 Ram pickup

The 2012 Dodge Ram pickup. The 2012 Dodge Ram pickup. Photo Credit: Chrysler

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Dear Doctor: I own a 2012 Ram 1500 Express. I bought a set of mirrors with the built-in directional signals and installed them. The power adjust function and heaters work, but not the directionals. I went online and discovered that they need to be turned on at the Body Control Module at the dealer, so I went to the dealer paid $130 for this. They got the puddle lights to work, but not the directionals. The service manager said they don't know the code and if I can find out what the code is, then they will do the work at no additional charge. I have a hard time believing they can't find the code and expect me to find it. Do you have any advice? -- Gerald

Dear Gerald: Just about everything electrically powered in your vehicle goes through a module. To program a Body Control Module in any car or truck, a factory scan tool is needed. Secondly, a lot of aftermarket, less expensive parts are not compatible and will not work -- even after the BCM is programmed. Go to another dealer so they can connect to the BCM and observe if it is sending a signal to the mirror's directionals when commanded. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 4-cylinder 2000 Oldsmobile Alero. I can be riding along and the car just shuts off and stops. This is happening about twice a day. I wait a minute and then it restarts. There is no check engine light. Please help. -- William

Dear William: Without codes in the vehicle's memory, the technician will need to connect some diagnostic equipment to the car to see what the engine is losing when the engine stalls. A common fault that occurs without codes is triggering of a crankshaft position sensor. With test equipment connected, the technician will be able to monitor the equipment when the engine stalls. He will be able to locate the source of the problem and determine which system failed. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 Hyundai Elantra with 175,000 miles. I've regularly maintained the vehicle since I commute 125 miles every day. Recently while driving on the highway and accelerating gradually from 50 mph, I noticed a vibration that seems to come from the engine. (I don't notice any vibration in my steering wheel). As soon as I let off the accelerator, the vibration went away. I pressed on the accelerator and the vibration returned. I've already had my tires balanced and rotated. Some people have said to check my plugs and wires and others have told me that it could be a motor mount. Any suggestions? -- Victor

Dear Victor: The most common fault under acceleration at highway speed when the gas pedal is pressed down and let up is internally worn inner C/V (constant-velocity) axle joints that may not show any signs of wear or torn boots. You should also check the engine mounts for wear and metal contact. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2007 Toyota Avalon. I had the front brakes replaced about 10,000 miles ago. The brakes work fine, but after braking in reverse and then braking forward, I hear a loud click coming from the front right wheel. I know the brakes self-adjust after braking in reverse, but the loud click only happens on the front right wheel. Help. -- John

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Dear John: First, your car has disc brakes front and rear. Unlike cars with rear drum brakes, these cannot be adjusted. Often overlooked are the caliper slides on all vehicles. When the caliper slides bind, the brake pads will not move freely as designed. I see a lot of cars with this problem. Secondly, a lot of shops do not use quality brake pads or replace worn brake pad hardware. You should bring your car to another shop for a second opinion. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2001 Hyundai Accent with 47,000 miles and I've had to replace the clutch five times. Hyundai will not provide assistance with these repairs. Should I have to pay for all of them? -- George.

Dear George: Sorry, but I do not think Hyundai should have to make any payment to you. For a clutch to be replaced five times, there is something wrong with the way the car is driven. The person or persons driving the car are burning the clutch out. It is not a case of a clutch being defective five times. Perhaps you may want to think about buying a car with an automatic transmission. -- Doctor

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