Honest John Question And Answer 3

Dec 20, 2018

Honest John Question And Answer 3

Q) I have a flashing glow plug warning light on my car - what does this mean and is it okay to drive?

I have a flashing glow lamp warning light on my Skoda Fabia. What does this mean and is it okay to drive?

A) The warning light is indicating that a fault exists but not to the point that you have to stop driving. First, check that the brake lights are working as if a bulb has blown (or the brake light switch is faulty) then it will show up as a glow plug warning light.

If the lights are okay then we would suggest that you get a diagnostic carried out to see if a fault code exists( ie P ---- 4 numbers) from which you can identify the problem. It could be one of the many sensors or the EGR valve (exhaust gas recycling)

Q) The battery on my new car keeps going flat - what could the problem be?

I have a 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia. The car was running fine until the end of October, but I parked it in a garage overnight for around 11 hours and the next morning the car battery was totally flat. Roadside assist was called out and confirmed the battery was totally flat, but a quick boost and the car started no bother. The same thing happened a second time so I took it to a dealer the next day but they could not find any faults. The battery was checked and is holding a full charge. Any ideas?

A) It would appear that you have a parasitic drain (i.e some circuits are live even though the car is switched off). Given the age of the vehicle and the fact it's still under warranty, I would go back to the dealership and get them to carry out a parasitic drain test.

Q) My Land Rover has considerable steering wheel vibration when stationary - is this normal?

My two-year-old Land Rover Discovery Sport has considerable steering wheel vibration when stationary. The dealer says it's normal but it doesn’t feel right to me. Should I persevere with my complaint?

A) If the Land Rover dealer refuses to acknowledge your complaint, get a second opinion from a Land Rover specialist. It could be the idle speed is too low and that is setting up vibration throughout the vehicle. But there may be a reason why the idle speed is too low, such as too much oil in the engine due to contamination from post-injected diesel intended for the DPF that never got there because the engine was shut off mid-active regen.

Q) Is my power steering failure down to a low battery?

My power steering has failed. The power steering warning light has not come on but the battery warning light is on now constantly. Is the power steering failure due to low battery power?

A) Yes, it could be, check the condition of the battery. When stationary and with the engine off you should get 12.5V at the car battery terminals. If not suspect the battery. With the engine running check again at the terminals and you should get approx 14.5V. If not suspect the alternator.

Q) My car only blows cold air from the heater - what's the problem?

I have a 2010 Vauxhall Astra that is blowing cold air only. I have checked the coolant levels and they're fine. What could be the problem?

A) Does the engine reach its normal working temperature after 10 minutes of driving? If not then suspect the thermostat. If it does then you need to check the two pipes that go through the bulk head (to the heater matrix). If both are cold then suspect the heater control valve. If one is hot and the other cold then suspect that the heater matrix might be blocked.

If both pipes are hot then would suspect that the heater flaps are either stuck or have an electrical fault.

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