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Car Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common car problems based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

A defective HVAC blower motor, blower motor controller, or relay/micro switch in the control panel may cause the heater/AC blower motor not to work. Diagnoses may be required to determine the exact cause of the fault.

The daytime running lights are prone to burning out. Our technicians tell us that the light sockets may show signs of heat damage but usually are OK. Always be sure to use the correct replacement bulb for the best life expectancy. The new bulb recommendation for 1999-2003 models is #4114K (trade number).

The Check Engine Light may illuminate due to an evaporative emission (EVAP) system fault. Our technicians tell us these EVAP system faults can be difficult to diagnose but it is not uncommon to find a failed charcoal canister or a loose or worn gas cap.

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

On vehicles equipped with rear air springs, the air compressor may fail causing the rear suspension to sit low.

An abnormal noise from the timing chain area is likely due to a failed timing chain tensioner. This condition is generally caused by lack of oil to the timing chain guides and the guides will need replacement. 

The check engine light can illuminate and set a P0008 trouble code when this issue occurs. This is due to the Camshaft and Crankshaft Sensors detecting that the engine timing is out of specification. 

If the engine cranks but won't start, the fault may be internal to the distributor. Diagnosis will show no spark and trouble codes for the crankshaft position sensor (CKP) or the camshaft position sensor (CMP). Our technicians recommend replacement of the complete distributor assembly if these conditions occur.

Misalignment of the accessory pulleys or a faulty drive belt tensioner may cause a chirping or squeaking sound while the engine is running. In If the replacing the belt tensioner does not correct the noise, the alternator pulley may require replacement.

The timing chain can develop a rattling noise caused by failing timing chain guides. This is often due to extended mileage intervals between oil changes that allows the oil to become dirty and abrasive which wears away the timing chain guides until they fail. The timing chain and guides should be inspected at each valve adjustment, otherwise serious engine damage may result.

Shifting harshness and shuddering issues related to the operation of the automatic transmission have been addressed by factory service bulletins. The shuddering can feel like the vehicle is being driven over rumble strips.

Squeaks and creaks heard while driving over bumps and turning can be caused be a couple common sources and should be carefully diagnosed. Possible weld issues on the lower control arms can cause the noise concerns and require repair kits for the lower control arms from Ford. A jounce bumper (bump stop) rubbing against dry strut plate can cause an abrasion noise from the strut area. In this case the strut assembly should be disassembled to lubricate the jounce bumper and then reinstalled.

The fuel pump may fail causing engine to stall and not restart.

The 2005-2008 Toyota Matrix 1.8L I4 models have issues with the circuit board in the electronic control module (ECM) cracking. There is no advanced warning for the issue, and when it occurs drivers will experience:

  • Harsh shifting
  • Possible check engine light
  • Engine stalling while driving

Toyota issued a recall for this issue, and notes the need to replace the ECU if this problem occurs. 

A no crank or no start condition may develop due to electronic lockup of the wireless control module (WCM), also referred to as the Sentry Key Remote Entry Module (SKREEM). When this module fails the remote keyless entry system will also not operate. The WCM is commonly replaced to correct this concern.

On certain models with rear disc brakes, a grinding noise can be caused by corrosion between the rear brake caliper bracket and the brake pad retainers. Cleaning and lubricating the caliper bracket and pad retainers should correct this concern.

An overheated wire in the head light harness can cause the low beams not to work. Replacing combination light/turn signal switch switch, the wire for the low beams, and the combination switch connector (if damaged) should repair this issue.

Temperature blend and recirculation doors commonly fail, which can cause the AC modes not to change or the temperature to be different on the left and right sides. If replacing blend air doors, a recirculation door, a door link, or a sub-assembly housing, new heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) sub-assemblies are available that improve reliability.

On the 3.9L V6 and 5.2L V8, an intermittent connection in the crank position sensor wire connector can cause poor engine performance or the engine may crank but not start.

The crankshaft position sensor may fail. Symptoms of this are: The engine will crank—but not start—especially when the engine is warm. The car may start again if it is left to cool off, but it may run roughly or have poor performance.

Poor fitment of the headliner, which may or may not develop into a rattle noise around the sunroof area is generally caused buy foam isolation blocks becoming detached from the headliner. The repair involves re-securing the foam blocks using cable (zip) ties.

A damaged cam position sensor (or its wires and connector) can cause intermittent stalling, stumbles, or hard starting.

The water pump may develop a coolant leak resulting in an engine overheating condition.

 

The transmission pressure control solenoid may fail causing erratic shifting. Our technicians tell us that partial dis-assembly of the transmission is necessary to replace a failed pressure control solenoid.

The magnet for the camshaft position sensor may fall out of its mount and damage the synchronizers. This causes long crank times when starting the engine and may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. If this happens, both the magnets and the synchronizers need to be replaced.

An engine coolant leak may develop from the expansion tank resulting in engine overheating. When a cooling system component fails the entire cooling system should be inspected. It is not uncommon to find additional component have failed or are leaking.

Overheating can cause severe engine damage. If the engine begins to overheat it is recommended to stop at the first available location and have your vehicle towed to a repair shop.

Owners have reported several instances of the interior door handles coming loose or breaking. The factory door handles are part of the entire door panel, so an OEM or factory repair would require replacement of the door panel at considerable cost. There are multiple aftermarket solutions involving removing the door panel to repair the original assembly, or retrofitting an aftermarket interior handle to address the issue.

A dirty throttle body may cause a lower than normal idle and an engine stalling condition can develop. Performing a throttle body service will generally correct this concern.