My new car’s horn suddenly went from honking to beeping

cars

John Paul, AAA Northeast’s auto doctor, answers a question from a reader whose new car needed horn repair.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Q. I bought a new 2022 Infiniti a few months ago. The car has about 1600 miles on it. Recently, the car horn started making a low beep instead of a loud horn. I took it to the dealer and the work order stated “found low horn inoperative due to broken ground circuit, re-soldered to correct problem” My question is will this repair be permanent or did you have to replace the belt?

A. I feel completely comfortable with soldering as a repair. A properly repaired chain should be usable throughout the life of the vehicle. Note that almost everything electronic has a soldered connection.

Q. After a cold start, my Lexus RX 350 is extremely noisy for the first ten minutes. It sounds like an old car’s tap or valve noise – making this luxury vehicle sound like an old Singer sewing machine. Lexus says, “That’s what they all sound like.” I find that very hard to believe, as the noise was not there when the car was new, but appeared after about 8,000 miles. Will I have to live with this annoyance for the next 17 months of the lease?

A. Years ago Lexus engines used to make some strange noises when cold and the problem was fixed with a service bulletin, but in my experience the engines today are pretty quiet. I would ask the dealer to explain what the noise is and also compare the car to a similar make and model. Unfortunately, it may be a characteristic of the engine.

Q. I recently took my car to a local auto shop for an oil change and the shop made service recommendations that I’m now afraid I don’t need. I have owned a 2015 Acura with about 78,000 miles on it. Their recommendation was to change the power steering fluid and brake fluid as they said the fluids looked dirty. I agreed, but when the invoice came to $327, I began to think that maybe they should have just made a sale. What I am trying to confirm is whether or not their recommendation was necessary.

A. There is no specific recommendation from Acura to change the brake fluid or power steering fluid as a routine service during the life of the vehicle (although some Honda models do). If the fluid is dirty or contaminated, it certainly makes sense to change it, but it may not be necessary. At AAA, we generally recommend changing the brake fluid every three to five years.

Q. I was told by a local Toyota dealer that it is against the law to put a mat on top of a mat on the driver’s side. To protect my floor mats, I added some carpet scraps. They removed the carpet and I had to put it back. Do you know of such a law?

A. There is no such law. With that said, one of the reasons some Toyota products years ago may have had unwanted acceleration issues was the pad getting stuck on the gas pedal. This is why the floor mats in most cars have attachment points. Personally, I would get rid of the remnants of the carpet. If you are worried that the factory insoles will get dirty during the winter, replace them with winter ones. Rubber winter mats are larger and have channels to hold snow, water and sand.

Q. If my Ford Taurus sits for three or four days, it won’t start. If I jump start it fires right up. My battery and starter were fine and everything else tested fine. Could it be a sensor or fuel pump?

A. If the car jumps and the battery is fully charged, I would look for an electrical problem. On some Ford vehicles, the battery ground cable has been known to cause intermittent no-start problems. A voltmeter technician will perform a “voltage drop” test to determine the cause of your vehicle’s intermittent no-start problem.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s automotive doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE Certified Master Technician. Email your car question to [email protected] Listen to the Car Doctor podcast on johnfpaul.podbean.com.

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