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Thread: Any car experts here?

  1. #1
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    Any car experts here?

    I have a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire. The first problem occurred a few months back when my digital odometer went out. It has never come back on. I had to take my car to a mechanic to get new brake pads and I mentioned this to him and he said he would have to take the whole dash out to get in there to see the problem. I was in a hurry to get my car back and figured "taking the whole dash out" would mean a bunch of money.

    I haven't taken this back to get fixed b/c it sounds costly. Anyone have an idea of how much I'd be looking at?

    I just noticed the second problem this morning. I have the daylight running lamps, which come on when I put the car in reverse or drive. This morning, the icon came on and then flashed a few times (and made a sound, like when you're turn signal is being used) and then went away and the "service" icon came on my dashboard.

    I looked in my driver's manual and it says, "a flashing DRL light indicates a possible burned-out headlamp, or that the vehicle may need service to repair a stuck DRL relay."

    Does anyone know how to know which one it is? And if it's a stuck DRL relay, how much would that be?

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    Member Reds4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Take a flashlight and shine it on the odometer and see if it's still working or not. If it is, the backlight bulb just needs to be replaced. If it's not working, the entire cluster will need to be replaced, they are not a serviceable part.

    In either case, the dash does need to be removed. You can't really get a ballpark on it, depends on what the rate of the shop is, if it's dealer v. independent, etc.

    Edit: If it needs replaced, GM's current list price is $165 for just the part, with no labor. Dash has to be removed, so I'd figure at least $300-$400 in a labor. Most likely a $500-$600 repair with the shop fees and all that.
    Last edited by Reds4Life; 12-28-2008 at 03:46 PM.
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    The Latin Heartthrob Javy Pornstache's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Not sure about the dash cost, but regarding the DRLs, I will say that Sunfires are notorious for the DRLs going out, and it's usually a wiring harness problem as far as I know. Often, the regular low-beam headlights will be out in addition to the DRLs.

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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
    Take a flashlight and shine it on the odometer and see if it's still working or not. If it is, the backlight bulb just needs to be replaced. If it's not working, the entire cluster will need to be replaced, they are not a serviceable part.

    In either case, the dash does need to be removed. You can't really get a ballpark on it, depends on what the rate of the shop is, if it's dealer v. independent, etc.

    Edit: If it needs replaced, GM's current list price is $165 for just the part, with no labor. Dash has to be removed, so I'd figure at least $300-$400 in a labor. Most likely a $500-$600 repair with the shop fees and all that.
    If it's just the bulb, is it still going to cost me $300-400 in labor?

    Before this car, I had a 97 Oldsmobile Achieva and the cluster went bad, but I don't think I had a digital odometer in it. The problem the cluster caused with the Achieva was nothing on the dash coming on at all and not starting.

    Will not fixing this issue with the cluster lead to other problems with the cluster?

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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Javy Pornstache View Post
    Not sure about the dash cost, but regarding the DRLs, I will say that Sunfires are notorious for the DRLs going out, and it's usually a wiring harness problem as far as I know. Often, the regular low-beam headlights will be out in addition to the DRLs.
    Low beam headlights...they are the regular lights and the high beam headlights are my brights?

    If it's a wiring harness problem, can that be fixed by someone who knows what they're doing or would it need to be taken to a shop?

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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Well, I went outside and looked at things suggested here and found:

    A) I could see the mileage on the odometer when holding a flashlight up to it

    and

    B) The left front headlight was out.

    Hopefully replacing the headlight will alleviate the DRL problem.

  8. #7
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by GriffeyFan View Post
    I have a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire. The first problem occurred a few months back when my digital odometer went out. It has never come back on. I had to take my car to a mechanic to get new brake pads and I mentioned this to him and he said he would have to take the whole dash out to get in there to see the problem. I was in a hurry to get my car back and figured "taking the whole dash out" would mean a bunch of money.

    I haven't taken this back to get fixed b/c it sounds costly. Anyone have an idea of how much I'd be looking at?

    I just noticed the second problem this morning. I have the daylight running lamps, which come on when I put the car in reverse or drive. This morning, the icon came on and then flashed a few times (and made a sound, like when you're turn signal is being used) and then went away and the "service" icon came on my dashboard.

    I looked in my driver's manual and it says, "a flashing DRL light indicates a possible burned-out headlamp, or that the vehicle may need service to repair a stuck DRL relay."

    Does anyone know how to know which one it is? And if it's a stuck DRL relay, how much would that be?
    My father in law had a similar problem with his Cadillac. Is it just the odometer or is it the dash? His problem was the entire dash went out and the Cadillac dealer told him they would have to take the entire dash out to replace the problem. It ended up being a fuse that had blown which is a common problem in those cars. Instead of playing hundreds of dollars to fix the car the fix is a simple $.25 fuse.

  9. #8
    The Latin Heartthrob Javy Pornstache's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by GriffeyFan View Post
    Low beam headlights...they are the regular lights and the high beam headlights are my brights?

    If it's a wiring harness problem, can that be fixed by someone who knows what they're doing or would it need to be taken to a shop?
    Correct, low-beams are the regulars and high-beams are your brights.

    I would say that the wiring harness problem can be fixed by someone that knows what they're doing, sure... it can be tricky getting under the hood and tracing the wiring and all that, but someone that is fairly mechanically inclined could probably do it.

    If the front left is out, obviously, you may want to try to replace the fuse or get a replacement bulb (which could more likely be the case if only the one light is out versus both). If nothing is changed, it's likely the wiring harness deal.

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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by GriffeyFan View Post
    I have a Pontiac
    Problem found!

  11. #10
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by mole44 View Post
    Problem found!
    Yep. Buy a Honda, Toyota, or Nissan and these things most likely won't happen. If I recall, they haven't asked anyone to bail them out of anything.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  12. #11
    On the brink of disaster acredsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    Yep. Buy a Honda, Toyota, or Nissan and these things most likely won't happen. If I recall, they haven't asked anyone to bail them out of anything.
    Don't worry, they won't be far behind. Toyota just posted their first operating loss ever. People tend to forget that this isn't a national recession, it is world wide. Give me my Fords and I can fix every problem myself. My girlfriend's Toyota has been nothing but trouble.
    "I thought I'd get your theories, mock them, then embrace my own. The usual." -- House

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  13. #12
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    My next car will be an Acura

  14. #13
    Member Reds4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    My next car will be an Acura
    I have one now, 2008 TL Type S. Great car, and zero problems so far.
    Pessimists are well informed optimists

  15. #14
    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: Any car experts here?

    Quote Originally Posted by acredsfan View Post
    Don't worry, they won't be far behind. Toyota just posted their first operating loss ever. People tend to forget that this isn't a national recession, it is world wide. Give me my Fords and I can fix every problem myself. My girlfriend's Toyota has been nothing but trouble.
    Wow! She must have bought it used from someone who didn't perform scheduled maintenance on it. I've owned 6 Toyotas and 3 Hondas since 1984 (including spouses' cars) and have had a total time in the shop for unscheduled problems of 0 hrs. ZERO! I bought them all new, always perform the scheduled maintenance according to the owner's manual, and usually sell them after they go over 100,000 miles, except for the 2 that were totalled in accidents. They've had some minor problems which I either fix myself or have checked when the regular maintenance is done, but none of them were ever off the road for failures. Just one man's account, but I think it's pretty remarkable.

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