Bugs…

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New cars aren’t necessarily problem-free cars.

The 2015 Mini Cooper press car I’ve got this week has developed some hiccups. Not “it’s broke, let’s fix it” hardware issues.

Intermittent software weirdness.scared pic

Last night, the wife and I went to do some shopping and on the way home, stopped at Starbucks for coffee. We got back in the car – which was loaded with groceries – and discovered the gear selector would not move out of Park. I swear on a stack of High Performance Pontiac (RIP) magazines that I did not abuse the Mini in any way. All I’d done was park – straight and level – and go in for a cup of coffee.

Now, it didn’t – it would not – let me leave the parking spot.

Picture the scene. It is 6:20 on a Friday night. A cold friday night. The wife is hobbled – on crutches, due to an injury. The car is full of groceries.

Home is 35 miles way.

The company that handles BMW’s (Mini’s) press cars is 200 miles way.

Luckily, I am hip to some things. I know that, for one, the problem is likely electronic and not mechanical. Which is good – and bad.

Bear with me.mini shifter 2

Most new cars have a locking mechanism for the automatic gear shifter that’s supposed to release when the ignition is keyed on (or pushed on, if the car has pushbutton start). But sometimes, it doesn’t. For just-in-case, they – the car’s designers – usually include a manual release that’s typically hidden behind a little punch-out piece of plastic trim cover on or near the shifter itself. In the Mini’s case, it was located under the shifter boot – which had to be pulled up and out of the way (it’s not obvious and without the owner’s manual or some hard-earned prior experience with such debacles, for most people, it’d be Call The Man Time). Underneath, a little yellow button. Pushed it – and the Mini was able to move. Or at least, I was able to move the gear selector out of Park and into Drive.

But now, the transmission was acting up. Acting like a CVT (continuously variable transmission) actually. Well, sort of. The engine would rev, but the transmission would not upshift. This limited drivable speed to about 45 MPH – at about 4,000 RPM on the tach.mini gas gauge

Now I felt great empathy for Gunther Lutjens. Does the name ring a bell?  He was the German grossadmiral in command of the battleship Bismarck. Which had been forced to reduce speed due to – wait for it – not enough gas (diesel, in Bismarck’s case) in the tank. Which enabled the British warships pursuing Bismarck – after she’d sunk the battlecruiser HMS Hood – to get just close enough to launch a successful air strike with slow-moving biplanes, which scored a lucky torpedo hit on her rudders – jamming them so the ship could only go in circles. Which sealed her fate. The British fleet caught up and blasted the crippled – and all alone – Bismarck to bits.

A few days before the deadly encounter, Lutjens had either decided not to top off – or forgotten to top off. It may not have seemed important at the time.

I’d felt the same way about an hour before the Mini got cranky. It still had three bars showing on the fuel gauge – a bit more than a quarter-tank and plenty to get home on. Lots of holiday traffic out and about; stopping to fill up now seemed like a hassle.

I’ll do it tomorrow.Bismarck pic

And so found myself gimping the Mini home on the lonesome Blue Ridge Parkway – with two bars left and the Mini’s gas mileage down to probably 12 or so because of running it at a steady 4,000 RPM with no upshifts or overdrive. Wondering whether I’d make it to within “jogging range” of the (aptly named) Marathon gas station some 20 miles down the road. Remember: Car full of groceries. Gimpy wife. 22 degrees outside. Past seven now on a Friday in the heart of nowhere.

By the grace of Elvis, we made it. One bar left. I put gas in the malfunctioning Mini and crippled her the rest of the way home.reboot pic

Where the first thing I did was to disconnect the battery.

You may not be hip to this trick. This act of desperation, really.

Disconnecting the juice sends the computer – which controls everything and is the source of all woes – off to the land of Nod. Hopefully to awaken, rebooted.

Which it did. Sort of.

The transmission is working now – shifting out of Park and into Drive and correctly through the gears. But “chassis” and two other lights – related to the traction and stability control – came on. And stayed on. For awhile. They’re off now – and the Mini seems to have no issues. But of course, it does. Or did. And likely will again. Probably at the least convenient moment, too.

Do you like to play Russian Roulette? mini computer

And this, friends, is why I do not trust – and don’t much like – computers controlled cars. If I owned this Mini, what would I do now? Take the perfectly running car to the dealer for… what, exactly?

How do you fix – let alone find – a ghost in the machine? Everything seems ok.

Until it’s not ok.

The whole damned car is run by code. From the drive-by-wire throttle to the cantankerous computer-controlled gear changer. It’s a frickin’ PC on wheels – running the latest buggy version of Windows.

I’ve let Mini know what happened.

But my bet is they’re as mystified as I am.

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34 COMMENTS

  1. My occasional need over the years to “reboot” the car has thankfully just been shutting it off and restarting it. In one case, I had a transmission switch issue in my 1998 vehicle that caused the check engine and check transmission indicators to light and, on the first occurrence, the trasmission went into limp home mode. Restarting made things normal again except for the check E and T lights. It took three restarts with no start-up errors to extinguish the lights, per the protocol. Even if things were normal until it happened again, the diagnostic codes would be available in memory.

    My newer car (2010) didn’t want to come out of Park one time. Shutting down and restarting solved the problem. I’m wondering if either the Mini’s transmission lock or transmission drivability problem could have been fixed with one or more shutdowns and restarts, perhaps with a few minutes between. Disconnecting the battery later on ultimately did the trick.

    And, most important — glad you made it home in the end.

    • Heh, the check injun light on my F250 came on last week. I hooked up my scanner- it said bad Trans. Range Position Sensor (fancy word for neutral safety switch)- I just replaced that last year! (Seems the TRPS goes bad on every Ford vehicle I’ve had over the last 20 years…)- I cleared the code…and so far, so good. But we shall see……

  2. This is what it does when brand-new…imagine when it’s 10 years old??!!! (It’ll have to be scrapped long before then…..no wonder old cars are getting so expensive- there will be no used cars when they are all gone).

    My ’99 F250 has enough computers and modules in it…..and I refuse to get anything newer than that. In the future, I will only be getting older stuff. These modern cars are like rolling Rube Goldberg contraptions- hideously complex systems to achieve the simplest tasks…and it just equates to more to go wrong.

  3. Disclaimer: I work for Mazda at a very low level.

    MINI is a BMW product. Owners and mechanics with experience all seem to say that the German cars—Audi/VW, BMW, Mercedes-Benz—just can’t stay out of the shop, and usually it’s for electrical or electronic problems. Great cars, but with a serious Achilles’ heel. This has been broadly true since the 1980s.

    Another complaint that owners and mechanics mention is that the German manufacturers assume if you can afford the car, you can afford to throw away big pieces of it. My father worked on a BMW some years back for my uncle. That particular car evidently needed a new universal joint. Dad said he discovered that the rear axle and driveshaft all had CV joints that were crimped on and could not be removed for replacement of individual components. (I’d guess it might be possible with special tools and procedures, don’t know, maybe some of you can shed some light on this. But Dad and a friend had a fairly well equipped home shop with a lift and air tools.) The uncle had to spring for a whole new rear axle/driveshaft assembly. MINI owners might face more of the same kind of grief down the road…

  4. A couple of years back, I bought a 2007 Mini (Non-S) with the manual transmission with ~75,000 miles on it. Being an “old” guy with long greyish white hair and a grey beard, my wife asked me at the dealership “can you really see yourself driving this?”, to which I cleverly answered “Yes”.

    My Mini now has just over 100K on it. Mechanically, it has been a dream; my local garage man loves me as he take excellent care of it for me. However, the pesky “check engine light” was a problem for a while, but seems to have went away. As such, the computer and sensors are the most worrisome part of the car.

    I would hope that you will be provided with another Mini for evaluation. The 6 speed manual is a blast to drive. I remember the words of an another old fellow with a manual tranny Veloster: “I love the manual transmission; my kids can’t drive it”.

    Us old guys are happy with the base “Non-S” version, but I’d love to see a review on the “Works” (Supercharged?) top end version! Yes – the auto might actually be faster, but the manual has class.

    Even old guys still like to dream.

    Best regards,
    Ricky

  5. This applies to most things now. What’s worse is instead of being able to take it to any mechanic to get it fixed, you are pretty much forced to bring it back to the dealer, who may be well out of your way, and may charge an arm and a leg.
    Sail-fawns are no different. The old little Nokia brick was relatively indestructible and simply worked. Now; you have to buy all sorts of gear to keep it from getting damaged and you’re rebooting it daily because some piece of software doesn’t work normally. Want it fixed? You’re sending it away to the manufacturer and you’ll be luck to see it in a month. Except Apple, who will just give you another phone because they’ve overcharged so much on all their products that they can just give away hundreds of new phones because you already paid for them over and over.

  6. I see that your Mini isn’t so different from my Mini. The handling on these cars is brilliant. But the electrical system is 3rd world.

    In my case, the airbag light wouldn’t stay off. 95 miles each way from Raleigh to the dealer in Winston-Salem. Five trips of getting up at 4am to make it there by the time they opened at 7, followed by another 2 hour trip in a rental to work. The boss started making comments about my repeated tardiness, and that’s when I knew the car had to go.

    MINI offered me $3k below wholesale (they were still on allocation at the time and they could have flipped it in a couple of days). The crooks. I sold it at Carmax and got a good price for it. 4 months later I get a phone call from the new owners: “We love the color, but the airbag light won’t go off”. Sorry, can’t help you. Try a different dealer.

  7. Love the Scott Adams reference. Shame was those cybercreeps at reddit did to him.

    Dilbert creator outed for using sock puppets on Reddit to talk himself up (he is also plannedchaos on reddit)

    Dilbert creator pretends to be his own biggest fan

    plannedchaos is Scott Adam’s sockpuppet

    Scott Adams sock puppet scandal
    – –

    Get a haircut and get a real (virtual) job – Have insurance and 4 door car newer than 2005? You’re in with UBER!
    http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/etc/4775260577.html

    Do you have any kind of vehicle at all? 18 years or older. Decent knowledge of the city
    Wheels (car, scooter, truck, or motorcycle) Upbeat, positive attitude You’re hired at POSTMATES!
    http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/trp/4771852715.html

    – Why not earn a few bucks from home with no chaingang boss and no cage except a smart phone or computer.

    • The man writes a comic strip that I occasionally have found funny. Beyond that I really don’t much care. However as I try not to be distracted by photo in the foreign bride dating service ad to the right I do realize we’ve all had threads we wish we handled differently. I will not be one to throw stones, although using a sockpuppet is lame.

  8. I thought about this a little bit. I’ve reached a conclusion. You’ve just had a run in with the Prince of Darkness. Not Phil, he’s the prince of insufficient light, but Lucas himself.

  9. Can’t modern dealer diagnostics find a history of what electronic glitches happened, and why?

    It would be comforting to dismiss this as traditional British bungling of all things electric. But isn’t Mini owned by BMW? Aren’t the newest Minis even built on a BMW chassis?

    It’s true that more digital gizmos equals more glitches. But some automakers use cheaper components and programming than others. And it doesn’t seem to be directly linked to price. So before you buy, check the discussion forums for that car. It shouldn’t be too hard to see which brands are having big problems…and which are not.

    • RE: “Can’t modern dealer diagnostics find a history of what electronic glitches happened, and why?”

      That’s THE question, throughout The Ages. Imho. The modern ages, anyway.

      On the backside, when I see the phrase, “Buggy Mini” I keep thinking of another phrase, “Buggy Whip”.

  10. Sounds about par for the course for British cars! I’ve had friends that have had various Brit models over the years. All were pretty awful in terms of reliability and longevity. (At least the sports models were fun – when you could get them to start.)

    I recently saw an MGB in its natural state, on the side of the road being pushed by its owner.

    • RE: “an MGB in its natural state”

      I didn’t know that.

      I fixed one of those once. …From its “natural state” er’ destination, in a garage.
      It was a pure Blast to drive. A thrilling, top down, ride I remember to this day, even-though it was … gulp… twenty plus years ago.
      I recall that it was a Very responsive machine. …Like a souped-up go-cart!

      • Also, this just occurred to me, RE: “on the side of the road being pushed by its owner” … At least they Can be pushed home.

        …Does that mean they are half bike?

        Seems like a Plus? …Nevermind the unreliability part. I’ve seen lots of Kaw owners doing the same.

        Machines.

      • They were great when you could get them to run!

        A friend of bought a new Austin America back in the day, the thing almost never ran. As I recall its vaunted 4-speed automatic transmission (a big selling point, most small imports didn’t offer automatics) grenaded after about six months even with limited running time. It was probably a blessing when the car rusted back into the earth after just a few years.

        Then there was another friend a few years later who bought a Plymouth Cricket thinking it was a Japanese car. Oops.

        These are cars that make Vegas and Pintos look like solid, well-engineered machines. The problems that Eric experienced with the Mini should come as no surprise, they are part of a long tradition.

  11. Interesting adventure to read about.
    Interesting comments, too.
    …Window/I-pod vehicles. …Ever upgrading, trying to get the latest fixes, to the last glitches.
    I don’t look forward to the vehicle version of, “The Cloud”.
    Super-fucked-up-sheet all around.

  12. I don’t think computer-controlled cars are the issue. I do think that cars running badly-coded software which the user (driver) can never see, replace, or even have audited is an absolute nightmare. When people are dependent on software they cannot (legally) see or change, they are slaves to it. None of my personal computers run proprietary operating systems for that reason.

    The same issue exists in vehicle security systems, of course. I would feel far better about a user-programmable unlock code which would allow me to integrate my PGP keys into the unlock and startup process. Instead, we’re stuck with systems reliant on “secret” vendor encryption keys which are so broken that any schmuck with $100, an eBay account, and about an hour (if the thief takes its time) alone with one’s (recent-ish) vehicle can ride away in it with the owner none the wiser.

    Obviously purely mechanical vehicles were simpler, and I wish the state weren’t clamping down on vehicle specifications so that such machines could thrive. However, the computers shouldn’t be blamed. Pin that on the incompetent fuckers who program them and the even more incompetent fucks who decide we shouldn’t mess with their programming.

    • Hi Detharonil,

      Yeah, but can you have the computer controls without the code?

      A laptop or desktop can be counted on to develop/manifest glitches – and they are not running complex mechanical and electrical systems in a very extreme environment (heat, cold, moisture, shock).

      I am not advocating Luddism – just common sense. It’s a car. A means of transport. On the ground. The complexity being built into cars has reached – if not passed – the event horizon of sanity.

      • http://www.fastcompany.com/28121/they-write-right-stuff

        Dated story about the team who wrote the software that controlled the space shuttle, generally considered perfect and bug-free software.

        Software reliability has improved and continues to improve (when was the last time you rebooted your iPhone?), but every time a new feature is introduced it can potentially cause more problems, which in itself can cause more problems, etc.

        It doesn’t help that a generation of great programmers went to work for Wall Street and the military-industrial-spy complex. You gets what you pays for, and in the case of today’s programming world, it’s all about price (except in the above mentioned bank and dark-government sector). Even the “circuses” sector of the government can’t get decent coders, despite (or maybe because of) throwing billions of dollars at the problem. When you read about the latest stock trading algorithm, or the new network traders are building to get them 1 or 2 feet closer to the servers that run the stock exchanges, remember that car that won’t start, or the phone that locks up, and the GUI that looks like shit.

        Or maybe Mini is keeping up the long tradition of British electrics!

      • eric, here’s a little insight into what has all those brand new big rigs on the side of the road with the front flipped. Ask anyone after it’s been repaired and it’s nearly always “Oh, something to do with that egr, regen system so the computer shut it down”. And all that crap has added a huge amount of initial cost to the owner. FRN’s may not be worth much but 5,000 of them for just that crap that’s hung on a perfectly good(I’d say great)engine is simply ridiculous. Long before that crap was mandated diesels were running very clean. What this has done has cleaned them up for a test and not much more. That particulate accumulator isn’t cleaned by removing it or something similar and putting all those particles in some recyclable something or other. No sir, it’s “recycled” by becoming “full” so some sensor says to which the computer reacts by injecting a huge amount of fuel that doesn’t burn so when it goes into this system it “burns” those particles in 20-30 miles. So it’s left in one area as opposed to simply not having this bullshit and everything including the engine is much better off. It doesn’t reduce pollution one iota, just holds it back long enough to complete a test….and this is perfectly fine with the know-nothing bureaucrats who suck our money at prodigious rates from that over the top gummint agency, the EPA. I walked out to the truck last night without a flashlight and stepped in some of the very same stuff their brains are made of. The bull looked at me and said “hey, stuff happens”. Don’t it though.

      • Eric, I think what Detharoni is talking about, is proprietary software- where they hide the code for no other reason than to protect their proprietary interest in it- vs. Open-Source software, where the code is able to be accessed and manipulated by anyone- be it the owner of the product, or a third party, whose services you employ.

        This is why I only use Linux operating systems. I wouldn’t know computer code from Morse code….but I can still benefit from what others in the community who do know, do with it (i.e. bugs and security breeches get fixed in a day instead of months, because actual users find and fix them, and then share what they have done)

        I’d rather not have any computers on a car, because a car doesn’t need a computer to acheive what it could achieve 60 years ago with simple mechanical devices…but at least, if computerized cars did run Open-Source software, things would run a lot more smoothly; and bugs would get fixed real quick…and all kinds of improvements would be made…just like with computer operating systems, where if I were forced to use Windows, I’d throw my computer out the window…but using Linux, everything “just works”…computing life is good; and my ‘puter is much more useful, because the principle concern of the OS is to work, rather than to protect and hide the code.

    • The Incompetent fuckers who program them are primarily Indians, Japs and Chinks – H1B Visa foreign nationals, who the goddamned fucking companies hire instead of real Americans because they work for spit. Millions of unemployed real American engineers are available “to do the work Americans just won’t do” but they won’t fucking hire us.

      • Don’t neglect your chance to vent using ethnic slurs for those dot-headed, magic carpet flying, rag-headed, paki, Apu, Indians too. ‘7/11: Never forget’

        A-rab, Aladdin, Apu, Bangla, Camel Jockey, Carpet Pilot, Coolie[a Hindi word referring to a porter; sometimes used derogatorily in the British Empire to refer to anyone of Asian extraction], Convenience Store Clerk, Curry, Dothead, Elephant Jockey, Genie Lover, Habib, Hadji, Injins, Lascars, Osama[refers to Sikhs because of their turbans and beards], Monhé[used in Mozambique and subsequently in Portugal], Paki is used as a racist insult in British English for anyone who appears to originate from the Indian subcontinent],[Portuguese colonists in Goa used the terms Negro and Cachorro (dog), both highly offensive to the natives. (See Conspiracy Of The Pintos)], Raghead, Sand Nigger, Terrorist, Wog[also used to insult many other dark-skinned people. Used by the British during WWI, meaning “wily oriental gentleman”]

        – karma stings the deepest when its well-deserved. didn’t the last batch of “real americans” also complain about their usurpers speaking to them using ‘forked tongues’.

        it’s becoming clear we’re just the latest tribe of native americans unjustly rendered obsolete by the unlimited treachery of the PTB.

        • Don’t forget “towelheads” and “ragtops” that refer to these disgusting and smelly rags seen on the headtops of some dark indians!!!

  13. I’m vaguely aware of those “emergency” buttons but would/could probably not find one. One of the first things I ever learned about computers on cars was to disconnect the battery and let it have a couple minutes(sometimes they contain a tiny battery of some sort to keep some power for whatever reason for a few minutes)before I reconnected.

    Only becoming aware of the computer after I’d bought a 1984.5 Nissan pickup, I found it would do some weird crap with the…..wait for it……the worst thing ever produced by man?….a computer controlled carburetor. Once it screwed up it was never the same and no amount of anything would repair it except a new one. Back then Nissan parts were prohibitively expensive, esp. stuff like that carburetor. I ended up hating that little truck just for that alone although it had other things that pissed me off to no end.
    When it was new, the radio suddenly would turn off, for minutes, hours or weeks and then begin working again. I didn’t have time to run it 60 miles to the dealer very often so the sound of silence and the strange hissing noise the engine made were all you could hear excepting the big tires I stuck on it. Finally, I get a day I can run it in and the service manager says he needs for it to not work to identify the problem. Sure enough, it worked brilliantly. So I take him for a ride and I tell him how it would go off with the smallest of bumps or something other I wasn’t understanding. We drive around and I do everything I can think of including go over some pretty rough stuff and practically stand it upside down trying to make the damned stereo quit. So I give up and he’s sympathizing with me and tells me to be sure and get it to him as soon as it quits again. I’m disgusted and say so so I make a sharp turn on the concrete that’s smooth as a baby’s butt at the dealership and run over an expansion joint you can’t even feel but it quit, right then. Ah, says the man, this we can deal with. I left it, they fixed it and then it quit again. I finally went bananas and said it was going to quit permanently if they didn’t do something “permanent”. That time I think they installed another stereo and I never had a problem again….until I was pulling out the front gate going to a 4th of July fireworks show in a nearby town and the tape player promptly ate Dire Straits so the stereo once again wouldn’t work. I tore the tape into tiny bits with some big forceps the next day getting it all out and the radio would work but the player was a goner. I used that pickup up to the nth, but not before it blew a head gasket at 140,000 miles and took part of the block and head with it. Since it only got about 16 mpg anyway, I knew it would be my last since I could have bought a warrantied SBC crate engine for less than the rebuild that I did myself on that little 4. If it had had enough room for a decent sized radiator, it would have had a nice 358 CI SBC and a Turbo 350 in it nearly instantly. The a/c had already given up on it by that time anyway.

    I hope Toy and Nissan have addressed their inadequate cooling systems by now and I’m sure they have but I’ll never know since I no longer have the time nor money nor inclination for a toy plus a couple of big GM pickups to do the heavy work.

    Speaking of GM pickups. I went to a big dealership’s used car lot recently, about 3-4 weeks ago looking for an Ext. cab or crewcab 3/4 T or single wheel one ton with the long bed. I mentioned this before but the update on this is, still, not a word. This guy is looking high and low but people with longbed pickups evidently don’t trade them. I said I’d even take a gas pickup and that’s desperate for me.

    • Hi Eight,

      “…the service manager says he needs for it to not work to identify the problem.”

      This is when your teeth begin to hurt.

      A car that works fine…. now. When you’re at the dealer. But then next week…

      How do you know it’s “fixed” when it works perfectly…. sometimes?

      And when the warranty runs out, it’s your problem.

      • eric, yeah, that’s when i had to shut my eyes. At that point I could have gotten out and locked the hubs and got back in a shifted to 4 low and the guy would have wondered….but not for long after I’d climbed over a few vehicles, driven into the showroom and left it to be “fixed”.

        Had a friend with a diesel that wouldn’t start(air leak in the fuel line I guarantee). The dealership wouldn’t fix it, had no mechanics who even remotely understood most vehicles much less diesels. He opts into this thing for mediation they’d recently passed(right around 1981 or so)and has his day. Lawyer for GM ask if it wouldn’t start, how did you use it? Well, my old buddy, my cousin, deceased now, says “I could get it to start with starting fluid but I hate to do that when it’s shouldn’t be necessary”. He didn’t go to court with a lawyer because he though it would be a real mediation. He was wrong. GM lawyer pops up and says “right here in the owners manual the warranty is voided if you use starting fluid on the engine”. Case over. He got screwed. He wouldn’t listen to me that is was a fuel delivery problem. With a junkyard 454 he goes a farming and sets the diesel in the corner of the barn. a year or so later a guy comes by for something totally unrelated and sees the engine. He has a fleet of them so he asks about it. Once he realizes it’s a virtually new engine he wants to buy it. He does and puts it in another truck with a worn out engine. A couple years later this guy appears again and is asked how that engine worked out. Just fine says he. It’s still part of the fleet and runs like a top.

        Doesn’t make you dealership crazy for your next vehicle eh?

        • This is kind of funny, and oh so true, someday maybe we’ll read about it in, The Papers, that which some other guy did who, “had enough” and blew his top:
          “yeah, that’s when i had to shut my eyes. At that point I could have gotten out and locked the hubs and got back in a shifted to 4 low and the guy would have wondered….but not for long after I’d climbed over a few vehicles, driven into the showroom and left it to be “fixed”.

          I doubt we’ll see that as a TeeVee commercial anytime soon. No matter how cool it was.

          It just makes me like my low Dollar – Paid For – piece of steel, All that much more. …I’m certain I’ll Never be able to buy another, or I’d wind up on a Most Wanted advert, for doing the same or similar.

    • It’s the damnedest thing. 24 hours ago, the car was effectively undriveable. Transmission “clunked” heavily – alarmingly so – into Drive, like it was being neutral-dropped. Then would not upshift. So, max speed about 40 MPH, if you didn’t want to abuse the engine – or the transmission.

      Disconnect the battery, let it sit overnight… and it is heay-uld.

      Makes me nervous… and it’s not my car.

      • Did it throw an error code & keep it in memory? If not…… start replacing stuff until it quits stranding you. Ya, right.

        Two years ago my Silverado 2500HD began intermittently not wanting to start and run. It turned over, instantly started up, then either ran normal or quit. Drove me nuts for days until I discovered the undocumented “secret” Hall Effect anti-theft transistor buried in the ignition switch. Supposedly it detects the presence of a “master” or wrong key trying to operate the switch & signals the brain to shut off after 2 seconds. Stupid device when the $2.00 transistor acts up after 14 years.

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