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Bizarre fixes

Who has a tale of a really bizarre fix for a car problem? Here is mine… I own a 1999 Honda Accord LX, manual transmission, 186,000 miles. The key fob remote stopped working about a year ago and would no longer unlock or lock the doors. I changed the battery on the remote and nothing happened. I asked the dealer for a quote and it was going to cost big bucks to fix.

I went on the internet and, after much searching, found a “supposed” fix that sounded more like voodoo than reality. The internet poster said to place the windshield wipers on the intermittent setting, set the switch at “halfway” and turn the ignition to “on” for ten seconds and shut it off.

I was skeptical but, since it was free, I gave it a try and it worked! My remote works perfectly now. In all my years of working on my cars I have never had such a weird fix. Apparently there is some sort of glitch with the door lock controller and the sequence described above resets it.

Who else has an odd story of automotive repair?

I once had what I consider to be a bizarre problem that seemed to end up with a completely unintended “fix” ? I don’t think it could be called a fix.

I had a '91 escort with a manual 5 speed. At about 190K it started popping out of 5th gear. No mystery there - losing the 5th synchro. But oddly enough there was only one particular stretch of highway where it would happen. It varied with nothing else whatsoever.

Anyway, at some point well after this started happening my thermostat stuck open - it was winter & very cold. I parked it for a while & drove a back up car. A month or two later I replaced the thermostat and for whatever reason it never popped out of 5th again. Eventually my niece ended up with the car and it met its demise somewhere in the 220K range for reasons that were never made clear to me.

Typically setting the controller is odd sets of combinations with ignition. My Subaru is similar except you use the power door lock switch and turn ignition on/off a certain amount of times.

Better than paying a dealer who likely use a proprietary computer hookup to the vehicle.

How’s that? :wink:

I had an '81 Firebird that was a nightmare of electrical and other problems. After adding a new stereo, which I made sure was properly grounded, both the ground wire and the case, my tachometer and other gauges would ‘boogie’ in time to the music. I didn’t know quite what to do about it until one night I noticed faint sparks coming from the edge of the lighter socket when I turned on the stereo. I ran a new ground from the lighter socket to the chassis of the car and the problems went away.

This car would also burn out tail lights at the rate of at least one a month.

So you’re reporting a problem with your taillights?

My sister had a 70s Pontiac Ventura, and as it aged, things started to disintegrate. The heater fan switch broke off and the dealer wanted a very expensive fix. She simply took a wire coat hanger and poked it into the dash and flipped the switch that way.

It worked great, but confused some her more traditional passengers. After 4 years of this the car finally packed it in and was scrapped.

I have a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon–a slantback. The car didn’t have a rear window defroster. I purchased two 12 volt plastic fans from WalMart and mounted them on the package shelf. I ran a lead under the carpet to the dashboard and mounted a switch. This system worked pretty well in keeping the rear window defrosted.

87 Celebrity would not come off high idle. Replaced the temp senser and all was normal.

You still have that one, don’t you?
I remember you saying you could leave the title, signed, and keys in it and no one would take it.

There’s a number of them but a few of the odder ones that stand out are below.
The Subaru owner who tired of blowing headlight fuses and wired in a broken piece of a No. 2 Phillips screwdriver blade in place of the fuse. That worked great until he turned on the headlights and the entire engine compartment went up in flames and smoke from a barbecued wire harness.

A gentleman in an older Ford station wagon (no heater operation apparently) who mounted about a 100 pounds worth of wood-burning pot belly stove in the back end; directly behind the driver of course.
The quarter panel glass had been removed on that side and replaced with a piece of sheetmetal through which he had routed a 2 foot tall chimney.
On the plus side I guess it worked but I often wondered what the results would be in a collision impact if a 100 pounds of red hot stove were to break loose and come flying forward. You would think that he would have at least put it on the passenger side but if he was married and really loved his wife… :slight_smile:

It’d be pretty hard to fix them at this point, since the car has probably been recycled into manhole covers, wood screws, and the like.

…but is it beige?

I wonder if he put it out when he parked it? Orr just left the windows down? They did this on an episode of Top Gear as I recall.

I have no idea. The first time I saw this guy was on a cold yucky day and noticed there was a smoky haze near an intersection. As I got closer I noticed the little chimney sticking up and smoke rolling out of it.

Naturally my first thought was WTH? Eventually I managed to get up beside him and saw the stove. Over time I mentioned this to other people and a few of them stated they also had seen this guy on the streets. It sure seemed like a pretty pointless and dangerous thing to do considering the car was an older Ford (late 60s/early 70s) and even something like a heater core replacement would not be that hard to do.

How is that bizarre?

“Car wouldn’t run. Put gas in. Car ran.”

True, that one isn’t so odd. I assume its the air temp sensor. A wrong reading there throws off the actual reading of the air volume.

I have never bought a pair of Vise-Grips. I have three of them that I found attached to cars. They were used to hold things onto cars that I bought. Kind of a bogus bonus.

I had to fix an electrical problem so I took a nap and told myself that I would dream of a solution. As soon as I did, I woke up and wrote it down. I hope nobody looks under the dash. The same car also had wiring removed from the heater blower due to body repair; you know how body shops never really finish a serious repair. I wired up speeds 1,3,and D. I’m not good at numbering things.

A 68 GTO had a turn signal that wouldn’t work. I removed 100 feet of old stereo speaker wiring from under the dash just so I could see under there. I found two wires burned together, separated them and the signal light worked forever after. I wasn’t trying to fix it but who cares; it’s the brilliance that counts.

coolant temp sensor

Yes, I still have the car and it is beige with brown trim. It has the 4-4-2 trim package. Unfortunately, it was just a trim and suspension package. The engine is a 260 cubic inch V-8 and the transmission is an automatic. I’ve had potential purchasers who thought they were interested unti they found out it wasn’t a “real” 4-4-2 with the 4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed transmission and dual exhaussts. (It isn’t a muscle car). I gave it to my son, but it came back. I gave it to a fellow in an antique car club, but his wife made him bring it back. In December of 1995, we had to buy a replacement for a car that got totaled. I found a nice 1993 Oldsmobile 88. The dealer had the car priced at $14,900. He said I could trade cars for $14,500, but could purchase his car outright for $14,200. I guess the car has a negative value.