Brand: Turning ignition to 'off' can help with runaway car

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: August 24, 2013 - 1:00 AM

Q: In one of your recent columns, someone wrote regarding a runaway Grand Marquis. Shifting into neutral works well, but I wonder if turning off the key would lock the steering wheel. It does this when I shut off my car in the driveway.

A: Absolutely not. The ignition key can be turned to the “off” position but not to the “lock” position, which would lock the steering column, unless the shift lever is in “park.” Thus, the best ways to deal with some type of stuck throttle/unintended acceleration are to shift into neutral to disengage the drivetrain completely and/or turn the key to “off” to shut off the engine. Even with the engine not running, the brake vacuum reservoir or hydraulic accumulator will supply several applications of power brake assist to help you stop the vehicle.

One more very important point: Motor vehicles have five “engines.” The engine under the hood converts the energy in fuel into heat through combustion, and combustion into power driving the wheels. The other four “engines” are located at each wheel and are called brakes. Each brake converts the energy of motion into heat through friction and dissipates that heat into the atmosphere.

The four brake “engines” are cumulatively more powerful than the underhood engine. This means that even with the throttle open, the brakes still have the potential to slow the vehicle.

Q: Help! What’s this high-pitched hum that happens to my ’05 Ford Escape when it gets cooler? Didn’t hear it all summer but now IT’S BACK! The only time it stops is when I step on the brakes. My mechanic brother says he’s never heard of that. What should I check to stop the squealing? Can I drive with one foot on the brakes and the other on the gas? P.S., my brother’s advice is to turn up the radio.

A: Stop the squealing? Let go of your brother’s neck! Here are several possible sources for the noise: brake pads, wheel bearing/hub, serpentine belt and brake vacuum reservoir/check valve.

Brake pad wear tabs will begin to squeal lightly when the pads are worn to the point of needing replacement. This vibration is dampened when the brakes are applied and the squeal stops. This is not typically a seasonal issue.

A worn wheel bearing or hub assembly will tend to “hum” under certain conditions like turning and can be dampened by braking. Again, this issue is not typically sensitive to ambient temperature.

In cooler conditions the alternator might need to work harder to provide current for the heater fan, defroster, headlights, etc. The additional load on the serpentine belt might be causing slippage and squealing while under power.

Worn, stiff or cracked hoses or fittings in the power brake vacuum system, including the vacuum reservoir and check valve, might be “whistling” until you apply the brakes. The rubber hoses and diaphragm in the reservoir might be sensitive to cooler temperatures.

While I’m a fan of left-foot braking, I don’t think it’s a good idea in this case since you’d have to keep a bit of brake pressure on the pedal to stop the noise, which could lead to brake drag, excess heat and even higher volume on the radio necessary to cover your screams as the brakes fade!

Q: I have a 1997 Mazda B4000 with a 4.0-liter V6 engine and auto transmission. I have a “check engine” light with code 1443 coming up. I have replaced the vapor canister, purge valve solenoid, sensor and all the hoses. The truck’s performance is unaffected but the light still comes back on after reset. Any idea about what is causing this?

A: Check for low engine vacuum or some type of vacuum leak between the intake manifold and the purge flow sensor. With the engine idling, pull off the hose at the sensor and plug it with your thumb. Is there strong, constant vacuum? If not, this could cause this issue.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 4th Inning
Chicago WSox 5
Chicago Cubs 0 Top 1st Inning
St. Louis 0
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr 9:10
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr 7:33
Virginia 17
Western Mich 14 3rd Qtr 12:15
Purdue 23
(5) Ohio State 13 3rd Qtr 8:45
Navy 14
Appalachian St 7 3rd Qtr 7:12
Michigan 42
Ga Southern 17 3rd Qtr 12:20
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close