Trouble Starting 1996 Taurus with a 3.0 V6 Engine PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 21 January 2012 14:22

Dear Barbara,

I hope you can give me some help with a problem I'm having with my 1996 Taurus. It has the 3.0 V6 engine. When starting the car, you have to crank it for 10 seconds or more, and often you have to make multiple attempts before the thing starts. It starts faster once it warms up, but still won't start as fast as it should. Once it is running though, there's no problem. It idles fine and there is no miss when accelerating or cruising. It's just getting it started that's the problem. I've replaced the spark plugs and wires and the air and fuel filters without any luck. You can hear the electric fuel pump running, and the fact that it runs fine once it starts leads me to believe that it's getting fuel. I've been working on my cars for years, but this has got me stumped.



Dear Lou,

My first advice is to check out your car battery, especially since you state that the car starts and runs fine once it warms up. I know it is pretty basic and straight to the point, but I would check the battery condition and the connection of the cables to the posts, and clean any existing corrosion off if there is any.

Another possibility could be your fuel pump, and oh how frustrating this can be! At night, when your car sits idle, all of the fuel drains out. In order to re-prime the system on a cold start-up, “first thing in the morning”, you need to cycle the ignition on and off. Turn your ignition on to the start position—not the run position—just far enough to get your dash lights on; then wait 2 seconds; then turn it off, and repeat this process about 4 times; then try and start your car. If at this point your car starts right up, your fuel pump is your culprit; so I would suggest installing a new fuel pump.

Good luck Lou and thanks for writing in,

Customized Speakers and Resale value PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 21 January 2012 14:15

Dear Barbara,

Will it hurt the resale value of my car by adding customized stereo/speakers that are not factory?



Dear Ralph,

In general, when you make any after-market change to your vehicle, you will be simultaneously modifying the potential buyers of your car. This can be positive or negative. There obviously is a range of modifications from minor to major that can be done to a vehicle. A paint job, if you go out and paint your car in some custom manner or funky hot pink color with wild green racing stripes, you will limit the amount of potential buyers drastically and probably reduce its value. I mean who wants to own a hot pink car or a car that looks like a snake skin? But, if all you do is change out the factory stereo system to an upgraded multi-disk CD player and equalizer, then I think you will be fine, but keep in mind that there is a person out there that will not want anything that has altered the way the car ran off of the assembly line.

I would also strongly suggest when creating the classified ad that you will put into the Houston Chronicle Auto section in order to sell your car, talk about how you have increased the value of the car by investing money in upgrades and make sure to inform the potential buyer that the upgrades were performed by a reputable vendor. It is also extremely important to maintain the proper service of your car on a regular basis to assure longevity and prevent it from, let’s say, backfiring when that potential buyer comes to take it for a test drive!

Also invest a little time to detail your car; I used to have a saying in the car business: spend $50.00 to get $500.00 more for that car.

Back to your original question, as long as your speakers produce a high-quality sound and do not negatively impact other features of the vehicle, you will be fine. On the other hand, if there is no longer enough room in the trunk left for a flashlight, you may have a problem.

Thanks for writing in,

Jumper Cables for Starting a Car PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 21 January 2012 13:58

Dear Barbara,

Is it safe to use jumper cables on my car to start another car? My husband says it will damage my car.

Thank you,


Dear Mitch,

Your husband is right with his way of thinking.

This is the reason why a lot of the car manufacturers since around 1996 are hiding the battery and or making only the positive battery cable exposed. It is better to carry a jump box instead of a pair of ole jumper cables in your truck.

I am a huge supporter of the jump box and exploit it every time I have possible. You can pick up a jump box at most any auto parts stores for about 45.00, and it makes it possible to jump start your car without having that 2nd vehicle around.

Thanks for writing in and I tell your husband that he may be right about this but not everything!

Tune-Up and its Benefits PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 21 January 2012 14:08

Dear Barbara,

Can you please inform me on what all happens during a tune-up and what are the benefits of having this performed on your car?

Thanks for your time,


Dear Jamie,

I always equate a tune-up on your car to having a health check-up on your body. It is amazing to me how many of us want the appearance of our bodies to look great just like we want the exterior of our car to look bright and shiny but we tend to forget the most important part and that is our interior/our innards. Without a good operational interior, our cars and bodies would not last very long before petering out!
When you take your car in for a tune-up, you can expect them to put in new spark plugs and spark plug wires, replace any worn-out belts and/or hoses, give it an oil change and new oil filter, switch out the filthy air filter for a new shiny one, adjust the valves and – if necessary – the timing, replace the fuel filter, add water to the battery, if need be, and clean the battery posts if corroded, check all the fluid levels and replenish them, or flush and replace, if necessary.

So, to answer your question about the process of a tune-up being worth it or not and a smart decision… you’re darn right, it is!

Proper maintenance of your vehicle is a must to promote longevity and performance; our cars are typically the second largest thing that we invest in; so you NEED to protect that investment! Have a tune-up performed on your car approximately every 2 years or every 30 thousand miles, whichever comes first. When my friends and I go out, we call it getting Texas dolled up; so make sure to have your car’s engine also Texas dolled up!

Drive safe!

How to Cover Long Thin Scratches PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 21 January 2012 13:57

Dear Barbara,

I put a thin line of touch-up paint over the scratch groove with the needle, let it dry, and then attempted to smooth out the touch-up lump with polish and Langka. The paint lump was gone but the scratch returned. My impression is that the scratch is too thin/not deep enough to hold the paint but deep enough where buffing it out is not possible without burning the paint and going through to the primer. Any suggestions?

It seems to me that touch-up is useless. Even if you apply it and buff it on deeper scratches/chips, it always leaves an imperfection of sorts. Any suggestions for long thin scratches?


Dear GA,

First of all, you are stating that you put the touch-up paint over the scratch. You need to get a small enough needle in order to insert the paint into the groove of the scratch itself. If you get the paint down into the scratch, you can literally fill it in.

If it is staying on top of the scratch, it will not work out very well.

You also need to make sure that you allow the touch-up paint to dry for an ample amount of time before messing with it at all.

Sitting, staring, and admiring it for 24 hours is allowed, but just do not mess with it until it is more than completely dry.

So go get the smallest needle that you can find possible and believe me, they make tiny ones that will more than likely do the trick! I have used this process for years without fail.

Thanks for writing in and I hope that this alleviates some of your scratchy stress!

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