Q: I have a 2003 Chevrolet S10 with 70,000 miles. A month ago the ABS and brake warning lights came on. The next time I started the truck they were not on. This has been going on randomly since. The brakes were checked and continue to function perfectly. There has been no loss of brake fluid and the parking brake works fine. After extensive research online I have come to believe that it is an EBCM problem. I also found a number of companies that rebuild these modules for under $100. You take the module off your car, send it in, they rebuild it and send it back. Being that you have several GM cars and trucks, have you run into this problem? Would you recommend this way of fixing it?
A: Yes, I would. But first, have a scan tool read the specific DTC fault codes store in the PCM and BCM. This should identify the causes for the intermittent ABS and brake warning lights. If the codes indicate a problem with the EBCM — electronic brake control module — having the unit professionally rebuilt for $100 rather than replacing it for well over $1,000 makes good sense to me.
Since both warning lights are illuminated, the DRP — dynamic rear proportioning — control system, part of the EBCM, may be the issue. An ABS fault with the DRP will trigger both warning lights.
Q: I have a problem with my 2014 Lexus RX350. When accelerating from a stop sign and making a turn into traffic, I press the accelerator to move quickly into traffic but as I turn, the vehicle seems to stall and I feel like a sitting duck in traffic. Without moving my foot the vehicle will downshift and finally accelerate. I mentioned the problem when I had the 5,000-mile check at the dealer but got no response. It seems to happen in the 1,500 to 2,000 RPM range. If I really punch it I can break traction and almost spin out on the turn. I often have to enter traffic on arterial streets and this is very frustrating.
A: And scary, I’ll bet! I have been unable to find any specific technical info on this problem, but my automotive instincts point me toward the traction and stability control systems. Your vehicle is equipped with sophisticated driver aids that can identify the start of a traction, stability, braking or yaw issue and implement corrective measures to help you avoid a possible loss of control.
I can’t help but wonder if your aggressive application of throttle while turning may trigger a response from these systems, reducing power until the systems no longer sense the problem. I’d ask the dealer to interrogate the control modules for these systems and check with the manufacturer to see if there are any software updates to address this.
Again, this is at best an educated guess, but that’s where I’d start.
Q: The car is a 2000 Volvo S40T with 113,000 miles. At 89,000 miles, the key wouldn’t come out of the ignition switch. I had the ignition switch and lock cylinder replaced for $400. Now it’s doing it again. Strange thing is this happens in hot weather. After the car sits for a couple of hours I can turn the ignition all the way back and extract the key. Spending $400 again is not something I want to do. Thoughts?
A: My online research found that the ignition lock cylinder on these cars can be problematic. But due to the heat-related and intermittent nature of your problem, the push-button lock switch on the shift lever may be sticking and not fully releasing when you engage Park. Try pushing the lever farther forward, spraying an aerosol lube in the button slot or even trying to manually pull the button out. If this allows you to remove the key, you’ve found an inexpensive solution.