CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Haunted cars

I own a 1999 Dodge Caravan with 85,000 miles on it. My friend owns a 1999 Dodge Caravan with 135,000 miles on it. We both have the same problem. The automatic door locks open and close on their own, and the warning bell that the doors are not closed goes on and off on its own, and the door ajar light goes on, even though we have opened and closed every door, including the back hatch, multiple times. My mechanic says there may be some pendulum device in one of the doors that is triggering a misreading.

What can I do to fix the problem? Take it to the dealer, take it to my mechanic and let him tear the car apart. Sell the thing before it explodes. Leave it on the side of the road and call the Department Homeland Security. My grandchildren think it is funny to have a haunted car, but they don’t have to ride in it all the time.

Start by doing a complete and thorough cleaning and relubrication of all of the door latches. I think that the “pendulum device” is very unlikely. What is likely is gummed up electrical contacts on the door switches.

You Could Try Having Somebody With The Proper Equipment (Likely A Dealer), Scan The BCM (Body Control Module).

That could lead you to the “phantom” spirits. I sure hope the problem isn’t a defective BCM (big bucks), but maybe it needs to be reflashed if there’s a problem.

I see a couple of bulletins pertaining to power door lock motors, but not activating warning chimes and lights.

You could always try disconnecting the negative battery cable for a few minutes before reconnecting it.

CSA

The Department of Homeland Security already knows about it. They’lll be calling you any day now.

My guess is that you have a frayed and/or chafed wiring harness, probably where it goes from the main body through the orafices to the driver’s door. The driver’s door is where these problems usually develop because the harness is constanatly flexed as the door is openeed and closed. My guess is that the wires are intermittantly shorting to the chassis.

Shops hate these wiring problems. They involve removing the inner door panel, tearing open the wiring harness, untying the wires, and carefully finding and spicing the wires. The customer always thinks the charge is too high, never recognizing the amount of effort involved.

At the risk of having my intended humorous post pulled by the automatic vetting machine, I would also look around for mouse droppings. Mice sometimes chew on wire insulation, and they jump around on exposed wires when they are running from place to place in the home they have made in your van. It may be unlikely, but not impossible. Not to speak badly of mice in any way of course, they are just ignorant little critters like the rest of us who sometimes cause problems without intending to. sweet little guys.

“they are just ignorant little critters like the rest of us who sometimes cause problems without intending to”

They just have smaller tool kits. C):slight_smile: