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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'02 Dodge Neon, Steering Wheel Click

Q: I own a ‘02 Dodge Neon with 23k that has developed a steering wheel click. As I turn the steering a distinctive click can be heard. I took it to the dealer and they said no problem that the steering column would have to be removed and it would taken care of under warranty. All was fine when I dropped the vehicle off. About midday I get a phone call from the dealership’s service writer. He proceeded to tell me that they will not perform any warranty work on my vehicle. When asked why the sudden change? He stated that the work I had done outside of the dealership voided the warranty. I kind of lost it at that point. After the dust settled I found out their reason for not performing the warranty work was due to a remote starter system that I had installed. It seems lame, but they state that because it is not a factory-installed accessory, their technicians will not work on it. The only way they will repair my steering wheel click is if I have the remote starter bits and pieces removed. This is just absurd and plain stupid! The electronics store said the remote starter system shouldn’t affect the warranty but the dealer refuses to perform the warranty work unless it is removed. The electronics store said they would remove the system but they would charge me for it. I think the dealer is looking for an excuse to void my warranty! What rights do I have?? Do I need to get a lawyer?

A: I can just guess where that remote starter unit is located, right under the steering column behind the knee cover. To remove the steering column from your vehicle requires disconnecting all kinds of wires not to mention disabling the air bag system. To install a remote starter system requires cutting and splicing into several of the wires that are in the steering column area. Not to pick on the remote installer but as a rule their people go and get the job done as fast as possible. To do that, they use self-stripping connectors. These self-stripping connectors are placed over the 2 wires that are to be joined and then squeezed. A piece of metal inside the connector cuts through the insulation of the wire, that same cutter bites into the wire itself to make contact. When this type of connector is used, you will frequently find that strands of wire have been damaged by the connector’s cutter. To service the steering column requires disconnecting and repositioning a good amount of wires. The factory stuff has nice connectors that can be unplugged easily. The problem with those self-stripping connectors is you have to pull the cutter off the wire to disconnect it. Each time that cutter passes over the wire it causes more damage to the wire. Who is responsible for that damage? Who will assure you that it will not cause a safety issue? Several of the wires that a remote starter system is connected to, are critical to the operation of the vehicle. I have seen some really scary installations of some of these systems and have refused to perform certain repairs due to that. If you want the work performed on your vehicle have the system removed. Also, realize that if there is a problem with any of the factory wires that was intruded on by installation of the remote start kit will likely be void of warranty of that component.

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