WTYM: Let the Motor Medics Answer Your Questions

Dear Motor Medics,
My check engine light has been illuminated on my car for almost a year. When it first came on I was alarmed so I had my mechanic check it out, they said it was due to a failed catalytic converter and that it would be expensive to fix but since it would not harm the engine I could keep driving it that way and ignore the light. After about six months the engine started to run rough so I went back, and they told me I now had several other codes that needed immediate repair otherwise severe engine damage could occur. I don’t want to spend the money on a converter but how can I tell if something is failing if the light is already on for something else? My car is a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix with 75k miles. Ellen in Madison Wisconsin

Dear Ellen,
You can’t tell if the light is already on. You need to repair the issue with the converter in addition to the other system as well. I know many shops tell their customers a failed converter won’t hurt the engine so you can drive it but there are always side effects. In this case you can’t tell what other problems may be in the system. This car may still be covered by an eight-year 80k mile federal emissions warranty that may cover the converter. Check with a GM dealership to see if this is so.
Take care, the Motor Medics

 

Dear Motor Medics,
I have a 2008 Chevy Silverado with an in-dash cd player and for about a year the cds have not been ejecting well. Now I have three stuck in the unit and one belongs to the library. The others I basically store in the unit to save space in the console. Is there any way I can remove them myself? I have tried to use a screwdriver to open the door but can’t see much inside the unit.
Tom in Martinsville

Dear Tom,
Stop! Don’t ever try to use anything to pull a cd from an in-dash unit. These units are extremely delicate and doing so can damage the unit. Even the act of pushing a cd into the unit instead of letting the unit pull it in slowly by itself can damage the delicate mechanism. The unit may have failed just because it is aging but it may also be due to the cds used in the unit. An in-dash changer like yours is even more sensitive to cd quality than single disc players and it is extremely important to only use cds that are perfectly flat without any kind of stick-on labels; anything else is prone to getting stuck. A radio repair shop may be able to remove the disc then fix the unit, but the cost often exceeds the price of a similar replacement. You may want to check with the library for the cost of a replacement CD.
Take care, the Motor Medics

“Under the Hood” can be heard every Saturday from 10AM until Noon on WTYM AM 1380 and FM 103.7