Help – My 2003 – 2007 Honda Accord Trunk Won’t Open

My 18 year old son is driving a 2007 hand-me-down Honda Accord coupe and last week he came home and said, DAD – HELP! My trunk wont open. I immediately said did you overload the trunk with your hockey equipment and one of the bag straps get caught in the striker? He said no way, it opened at the hockey rink when I put my bag in the back, but now its stuck.

HOW TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE TRUNK

I initially tried pulling up on the trunk lid, even slid a crowbar in between the lid and the bumper (yes I know dumb move, but hey its a 12 year old car so its already scratched). I could here the electric solenoid trying to pull the lock open and we even pulled the manual release from up front. NO JOY. Its a good thing the back seats fold down in this car because we were able to gain access to the trunk and remove most of the contents. Finally my son was able to hit the emergency release on the latch and POP the trunk opened.


WHY DID IT FAIL?
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2014 – Dodge Charger Steering Wheel Heater & Rear Seat Heater DEAD!

Here we are in mid January and my wife informed me during a drive the other day her steering wheel heater was dead on her 2014 Dodge Charger. The car has software buttons on the touch screen to activate the heater and when pressed, it goes on and within 2 seconds turns off.

I began doing research for causes and typical issues are the clock spring in the steering column, computer control module among other items. A day later we were out with the kids and i was bummed the steering wheel heater was broken and from the back seat the kids said hey.. our rear seat heaters are dead too. It immediately dawned on me to check the fuse box!

Where are the fuses?

Like many modern cars there are multiple fuse boxes in and around the vehicle. Some are under the dash board, some in the engine bay, and in our case the seat / steering wheel heater are in the trunk.

To access the fuse box you need to remove everything from the trunk and lift the trunk floor (as if you were accessing the spare tire). Under the trunk floor you will find the spare tire, battery and a small black box next to the battery.

2014 Charger Trunk Fuse Box
Arrow indicates rear seat / steering wheel heater fuse.
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2013 – 2018 Lexus GS 350 Cabin Filter Replacement Procedure

Once a year I change my air filter and cabin filter to help keep my GS 350 performing at its best. The Lexus dealer can charge upwards of $150 for each of these services. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars if you take 5 to 10 minutes to do it yourself. In this post I will show how easy it is to swap out the GS cabin filter. Click this LINK to see how easy it is to change the Air filter.

Where to get the correct Cabin Filter?

I believe many Lexus models take the same cabin filter.  I searched on Amazon and many of the filters i came across said they were NOT a match for my car. Finally I found this EcoGard filter that said it was going to be a good fit, I took a chance and made the purchase.

 

EcoGard filter for GS350 $16.54 at Amazon.com

There are lots of other compatible filters. Picking a cabin filter is more a personal preference since they are a creature comfort and will not affect the performance of the car. Use this link to search all of Amazon for filters that should fit the GS 350 – CLICK ME

Changing the filter

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2013-2018 Lexus GS 350 Air Filter Replacement Procedure

My 2017 Lexus GS 350 needs a new air filter. It’s been about 20,000 miles and is ready for a replacement. No matter what car I drive, weather it be a $500 Honda Accord or my GS I’m still a do-it-yourself kind of guy and refuse to hand over money for something I can easily do on my own. The Lexus dealer can and will charge upwards of $150 to replace the air filter. If you follow my instructions below I will save you over $100 and have your car done in 5 to 10 minutes!

Where to get the correct air filter?

I like to shop on Amazon, they usually have great prices and with my prime membership the orders arrive at my door super quick.

There are quite a few manufactures that make replacement filters for the GS, I tend to steer toward name brands I trust and have used in the past.

Fram is my first choice in filter, they tend to be slightly more expensive than other brands, but they perform well and last. This particular filter has an extra layer of filtration material on the bottom. I haven’t seen that previously on others. I’m curious if it adds that much more filtration without cutting down the airflow to the engine.  $33.99 at Amazon Continue reading “2013-2018 Lexus GS 350 Air Filter Replacement Procedure”

Weekend Project – Check Your Check Engine Light For $20

Modern cars offer a ton of on board self diagnostic  equipment to help point us in the right direction when things begin to fail. However it seems that most auto manufactures would prefer the diagnosis of the dreaded “check engine” light left to the professionals. I don’t believe this should be the case. If you own the car you should be able to diagnose issues and make decisions on how and where to have them repaired.

ODB2 PORT

Fix your check engine light with a $20 ODB2 scanner

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Automotive Headlight Technology – Even Edison Would be Impressed!

Recently I purchased a new car and was amazed at how much technology is packed into it. From radar cruise control and self steering, to blind spot monitoring and collision avoidance its great to see how far we have come since the advancement of the micro processor. One item that caught my eye is the fact their is not a single Edison light bulb in the  car. It is 100% LED technology even the Headlights!

I have been driving longer than I’m not driving, over 27 years (do the math, yes I’m old) My first car had “sealed” beam headlights and were sufficiently bright and focused for 1980’s technology. Just think, how much more have we advanced since the invention of the automobile?

A trip back in time:

In the late 1800’s as cars became more prevalent there was a need to light the road at night. Since the first commercial light bulb was invented around 1879 it was not feasible to install it into a vehicle. Early road vehicles used fueled lamps to light the way.  You had your choice of acetylene or oil and the Prest-O-Light company had a great storage and delivery system for the acetylene gas. Continue reading “Automotive Headlight Technology – Even Edison Would be Impressed!”

Stay Hands Free In a Hands on World – Mobile Car Mount Roundup

There is close to 5 billion mobile phones in use in on our planet and almost 1.5 billion automobiles operating around the world. Through a very inexact science it may be safe to postulate that most drivers own a mobile phone.  For quite a number of years governments have been enacting hands free laws and promoting the concept of hands free in numerous public service announcements. In faClassicct at least 1/2 of the states in the United States have some type of hands free law on the books. My question to you is how do you keep your phone hands free, yet usable in your car? Which mobile phone car mount do you use?

Types of mobile phone holders:

There are many different types of mobile phone holders on the market, however when it comes down to it most of them can be lumped up into the following categories.

  • Suction Cup Mount
  • Vent Mount
  • CD-Slot Mount
  • Grip Pad
  • Cup Holder
  • Trim Clip Mount

Suction Cup Mounts – Really Suck (no really.. they suck onto the windows)

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Weekend Project – 2011-2014 Dodge Charger Backup Camera Replacement

Over the last few months the backup camera on my wife’s 2014 Dodge Charger has been intermittently failing to send picture to the console display. The radio / head unit is functioning normally for climate control functions and AM/FM/ and Satellite is working OK too, so I began to troubleshoot the wiring.

During the troubleshooting process, with the backup camera active I disconnected the unit from the cars wiring harness and then reconnected it. At that point the camera begins transmitting again. (think reboot) The next time the camera is activated it fails once again.

This leads me to believe the unit is bad and needs to be replaced. A call to the Dodge dealership quoted me a price of over $350 for parts and labor. I quickly sourced the part on Amazon for around $170

OEM – Mopar  2011-2014 Dodge Charger / Chrysler 300 Backup Camera – $169 at Amazon

 

Tools you can use:

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Weekend Project – Wash & Wax Your Car!

If you frequently read this blog you know I enjoy computers and I am also fond of cars. For the last 20 years I especially enjoy wasting some time on a Saturday or Sunday detailing my ride.  I feel the art of detailing cars has been lost. Most drivers tend to visit the car wash and let the automatic machines pound the dirt off the finish. I’m not saying that the car wash is a horrible place to take your precious ride, however a hand wash and wax in the driveway is the kinder gentler approach to keeping your vehicle looking like new!

The Wash: – Supplies

All soaps are not created equal. When washing your car use a soap that is specifically designed for the task. Dish soap or Mr. Clean are NOT good choices since they tend to strip any wax or protectant that may already be present.

My favorite soap is ArmorAll Wash & Wax. They claim it adds a coating of Carnauba Wax while it washes. In all the years I have used this stuff I have never seen it add a “Wax” coating to the paint, however it at least doesn’t strip the wax off the paint.   It’s also relatively inexpensive at about $14.00 for a large bottle.

You are also going to need a good bucket, preferably one that has a segregated wash and rinse side. Or this cool bucket I found. It has a screen at the bottom for filtering out the dirt as well as casters to easily roll the bucket from one side of the car to the other.  Automobile paint is easily scratched and the grime coming off the car can easily scratch the paint if not rinsed completely. Its a bit pricey at $44.99, but your cars finish is worth it!

They make plenty of different car wash cloths, hand sponges and Microfiber towels to do the washing. I prefer to use an old T-shirt as my cloth of choice. However if you need a good wash cloth you can’t go wrong with Microfiber. Only $14 for two dozen!

The Wash: – Procedure

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Weekend Project – Replace Your Cars Air Filter – (2014 Dodge Charger & 2011 Lexus ES 350)

Last weekend I gave you some tips on replacing your automobiles cabin filter. The benefit was clean fresh air while driving down the highway. Today I am going to talk about replacing your engine air filter.  The air filter is essential to keeping your engine running well.

What are the benefits of a clean air filter:

  • Increase Fuel Economy:
    There have been many studies to determine what the cost of a dirty filter is on fuel economy, it would be said that a 6% loss per gallon on modern cars.
  • Reduced Emissions:
    A dirty air filter reduces the air flow into the engine and therefore reduces the amount of air available for combustion.  This could cause the fuel / air ratio to be rich (too much fuel) which will cause incomplete combustion creating increased emissions and pollution
  • Increase Engine Life:
    The filter is designed to catch debris, even the smallest particle entering the engine can cause increased wear and significantly reduce the life of the engine.
  • Easy and quick fix:
    As you will see from my experience below, the air filter is usually an easy DIY project that is inexpensive to complete in just a few minutes. Saving you quite a few dollars over having the dealer do the work.

Let’s get working

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