Hearing bells, but only when warm



I am being driven to distraction while driving! The cabin alarm bell in my ‘01 Grand Caravan starts to ring as the vehicle warms up. Starts with one ding and a pause, followed by one (or more) dings with a pause, working its’ way up to incessant dinging. If I turn the engine off for a long enough period, whatever is causing the problem cools off enough that the process starts allover again. If it isn’t turned off long enough, it just starts dinging right away. The problem is getting worse with the warmer weather. It’s the same tone as that used for open doors and other alarms, but it sounds more rapidly - less time between dings. Please help before I become a dingbat! I use my van to drive a route job. My mechanic is stumped, I don’t want to just disconnect the alarm, and I can’t afford a new ride.


Another job where a scan of the BCM could help. As we know, when the car “dings” it is trying to draw your attention to something or somepart of the monitoring and notification system thinks you should be made aware of. The fix could be as simple as a BCM reprogram or as expensive as a cluster replacement. As always a check for TSB’s should be made.


Hi. Thanks for the reply. If you are talking about an engine diagnostic, it has been run. My mechanic found a leak in the emissions system but nothing that explains the sound. According to the 3 or 4 mechanics at the shop I use, this vehicle doesn’t have very sophisticated audible alarms. The check engine light was on for months before it started doing this but they (mechanics) say *and said prior to this starting) that it is related to the emission system. I would try another shop, but I have credit at the one I use and I don’t have much work now.

I think the sounds mean something… like the POST test when a computer boots does. 1 ding means a problem with the X component, two dings means a problem with Y component and so on. Mechanics say this vehicle does not do that. How long I drive the car until it starts to protest, and the pattern of sound leading up to constant repetition both vary, but it always occurs if I drive long enough. If it is a warning of some sort, what would only become an issue when the car (engine or cabin?) is warm to hot? (The car does not overheat.)

You can probably tell, I’m not all that car literate. :slight_smile: I hope I interpreted your suggestions correctly and have done what you said by having the (unproductive) engine diagnostic done. If not, further explanation would help me a lot. Please feel free to present other ideas if you have them too.

Thanks, Julie


Manufactures are required to provide a minimum amout of diagnostic capability via the data link connector. This minimum capability is almost 100% related to how the engines emission system is performing. As vehicle complexity has increased the manufacture has decide to give other systems the ability to be diagnosied via the data link connector. One more popular “extra system” that has been added is the device that controls features realated to the body of the car (I am not talking about fenders and paint here). I am talking about the instrument cluster,warning lights,interior lighting,heating and cooling,audio systems,security systems. Manufactures have found that it reduces diagnostic times if these systems are also included in the group of systems able to be scanned,it is not just the engine anymore.

In short, I am not talking about an engine diagnostic scan,I am talking about a scan of the BCM (Body Control Module). In many circumstances the general public thinks that a scan of “the cars computer” can tell them anything and everything about what is going on with the car, this is not true. We also have the mirror image of this belief where the general public is missing out on a wealth of information that can be aquired through a scan of the BCM. Have your mechanic direct his scan towards the vehicles instrument cluster and warning light system.