Problem with my 2002 Oldsmobile Alero. Engine Service Light.
Question: Occasionally when starting the car, the lights, all dash components, A/C, radio, power windows do not work. The only thing that works is power door locks. The engine runs fine during this. I have to shut the car off and restart several times for everything to start working again. What's up?
Answer: Thank you for the tip/donation.I need a little more information. Is this a 2-door or 4-door. Did all these things start to act up at the same time, or 1 at a time, and progressively getting worse? Can you think of anything odd that happened just prior to these problems?
VISITOR: Everything happens when I start the car. The car will start normally, but nothing else works. It happens this way every time it occurs. It is very erratic. I can drive it several days without it happening, then all of a sudden it shows back up.
Like I said earlier, the engine runs normally and the car drives normally during the incident, but I have power to nothing else.
Answer: In my experience, 2 things sound like the most likely cause. 1. Check for evidence of water getting into the left side dash fuse block. With drivers door open, it is behind the panel on the side of the dash. This is not only a fuse block, but also a main junction block for many of the electrical circuits in the car. Have had a few occasions where water gets into the block and causes all kinds of odd electrical problems. With the key off, remove a few fuses and relays and look for the sign of water damage. It may be just dried up water residue on the terminals of the fuses or relays, or in the block where these things plug in. May just look dirty, green, rusty, or white residue. This is the sign of water intrusion. Also look around that block at the metal dash brackets to see if you see rust. If you find any of these, that entire block will need to be replaced.
2. Possible loss or low voltage to these circuits caused by a faulty ignition switch. The ignition switch powers many of the different fuses and relays, and if the switch does not send the proper voltage, it will cause these circuits to malfunction. You can try to turn key to the position with all circuits functioning normally, then wiggle key, tap on dash under the key.
Sometimes this will cause a faulty ignition switch to act up and cause those circuits to fail. The ignition switch is the housing the ignition key cylinder goes into. Or when the circuits are acting up, test for battery voltage at several of the fuse in the left and right underhood fuse block.
A faulty ignition switch would cause the fuses related to the problem circuits to not have voltage or have low voltage with key ON. The fuse block problem seems like the most likely cause, since a bad ignition switch usually will cause the car to not start, or give intermittent security / theft light.
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