Electrical Problems

The low beam headlights on my 2007 Pontiac Torrent have been working intermittently for several months. Sometimes they will automatically turn on like they are supposed to, other times they will not and I will try to manually turn them on- sometimes it works, other times I have to use the high beams. I had the lever replaced, but it did not fix the problem. My boyfriend tried to track down the problem and removed the fuse panel completely from the car, didn’t see anything that stood out, so he put the right back. After he put it back, the car would not start.

The radio works, the interior lights work, but when you try to turn it over nothing happens. At all. I towed it to the mechanic a week ago on Monday and they said that it smelled like burnt electrical under the hood, but could not pinpoint the problem. They have now had my car for a week and the latest update they have given me was the car will not communicate with their testing equipment, so they think it is the computer, but they are not sure. They said that they are trying to find a replacement computer.

Does this sound like a computer problem? And if so, should it have taken them an entire week to try to diagnose? I am trying to be patient, but it feels like a week is a long time to have a car in the shop and I am still without a definite diagnosis or any estimation on how much it is going to cost to fix my car. Should I try to take it somewhere else?

It sounds to me that shop is just guessing at the problem and don’t know how to verify the problem. But then I don’t know for sure what they have done to troubleshoot the problem. From what you say about the problem I suspect that when the fuse panel was worked on a fuse was blown in the panel under the hood that supplies power to some circuits connected to the dash panel. Most of the fuses in the dash panel have power provided through the ignition switch but a few are hot at all times. Continuous power ties to pin 16 of the OBD-2 connector. That power is needed to run the scan tool. If you have no power getting to pin 16 of the connector then there is either a blown fuse in the panel under the hood or there is a bad connection between those two points. Since power is not getting to the ignition switch also this points to the power panel under the hood needs to be checked out. If the warning lights don’t turn on with the ignition switch then that would be real evidence that there is a main power panel issue.