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Article posted: 5/12/2013 5:10 AM

Irksome dome light hard to diagnose

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By Doug McAllister

Q. My overhead interior dome lights do not turn off after turning the car off. I have to manually turn them on and off. Also, my left rear passenger door does not open with the remote. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

A. I have more questions than answers right now on your situation. With regard to the lights, is it just the dome light that stays on or do the other interior lights stay on as well?


If it is just the dome light, is there a switch on the light, and how many positions does it have? Check carefully that it is in the right position.

If it involves all the lights, it may be an issue with the dash switch that turns on all the interior lights. You should check that one, too.

With regard to the door lock, does it work with the door lock controls in the car? This information would be a good start in trying to narrow down the problem.

I really hesitated in trying to answer this because it is really hard to know what you are dealing with not having the car in front of me. The problems you are having could be very simple to remedy, yet there could be something more involved going on. However, I do not think these two issues are related.

Q. I needed some brake work done and the shop told me I need to replace both calipers, even though only one of them was bad. Since only one of them is bad, can I get away with replacing only one?

A. This is a great question and you might get different opinions depending on who you talk to, but I think most professionals would agree you should always replace brake calipers in pairs.

Here is my reasoning. First of all, if one of the calipers failed, the other one will, also. It has been on the car just as long and has been exposed to the same fluid and the same conditions. The last thing you want is to have to do the brakes again in three months because the caliper you left decided to seize up.

The second part of my reasoning is I want to have the same product on the right side as on the left. This will give us the best chance of having a nice even stop with less chance of any brake disturbance and the best chance of longevity.

When changing hydraulic components, I would also recommend the brake fluid be flushed to remove any moisture or contaminants that may be contained in the fluid. Brake fluid attracts moisture and moisture is what causes corrosion in the brake system, the calipers and wheel cylinders. It is good maintenance to flush it out when doing any brake work.

• Douglas Automotive is at 312 S. Hager Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit Send questions to

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