Truck update

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions after I asked for your input last week. I dropped the truck in yesterday with a long list of things to investigate.

As I feared, the mechanic wasn’t able to reproduce most of the faults I’ve experienced with the vehicle, so I told him to proceed with replacing three components that you identified as the most likely causes of the problem:  the multifunction switch, the brake light switch, and the cruise control switch. He warned me that doing so would cost over $500, due largely to the labor costs involved, but I don’t have much choice, so I told him to go ahead.  It’ll hopefully be ready by tomorrow evening.

I hope these repairs solve the problems.  If so, great.  If not, then I guess I won’t have much option but to look for another set of wheels.  That will be very frustrating, because the truck’s in excellent condition despite being ten years old.  I bought it in the same year I was seriously injured, so it’s got only 60,000 miles on the clock – the fruit of being driven by someone who can’t drive too far, too fast or too often. says its ‘True Market Value’, as they put it, is $6,400 as a trade-in, $7,500 as a private sale, or $8,900 as a dealer sale (after fixing the problems, of course).  I’m sure I’ll get some offers for it from a couple of the mechanics – they’ve commented on its low mileage over the years, and since they can work on it themselves, the electrical problems probably won’t deter them.  Still, I’ll never be able to replace it with something as good and as low-mileage for even twice those figures, so I’d much rather keep it!

Thanks again for your helpful suggestions.  We’ll see whether they work.



  1. Peter, should your repair investment prove fruitless, may I suggest contacting local high schools and community colleges that have an automotive section in their curriculum? Instructors frequently are looking for "project vehicles" as student training tools. Most of the students enrolled in such programs have done so as a path to professional automotive repair, and learn under the tuteledge of an instructor who is an older, well-experienced "auto techie" (Art Welling blogged about his adventures in that field). I'd think a "brain buster," which describes most electrical problems, would be welcomed as a challenge.

    Your cost will be time, and parts; what a professional mechanic might have troubleshot in hours, or a day, might take the students a week or more, but patience might change a dead end into a thoroughfare, and provide a learning opportunity for students.

  2. Whenever a mechanic says he's "unable to reproduce the problem," I fight the urge to tell him that his parents sure did.

    But that would be wrong.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *