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Stephen Dempsey
Stephen Dempsey, Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 652
Experience:  I am an top-notch diagnostician with 8+ years of experience managing auto repair shops, import, domestic, and collector cars.
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2000 Mercury Village: Sport..000 miles..cel..washer fluid light went

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I have a 2000 Mercury Village Sport mini-van with 57,000 miles. Recently the CEL went on. Shortly after the washer fluid light went on. For the CEL I checked the gas cap, added dry gas and it stays on. Added washer fluid, and the light stays on. Any thoughts on why the lights are staying on?

Stephen Dempsey :

Hello, thank you for choosing Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will answer your Mercury Villager check warning light question.

Customer:

Hi Stephen. Thanks.

Stephen Dempsey :

The washer fluid light likely stays on for one of two reasons. Either the float that indicates the level is stuck (or no longer floats), or there is a leak and the fluid you put in has gone away.

Stephen Dempsey :

The CEL can be activated by literally hundreds of different failures; a loose gas cap is only one of the more common causes. You will need to have a repair shop scan the code and advise as to the cause and necessary repair.

Stephen Dempsey :

Many auto parts stores will scan the code for free. However, interpreting the cause is not always straight forward as most codes can be caused by multiple different failures.

Customer:

I'm concerned that since both lights are staying lit, the cluster might be at issue. Can that be?

Stephen Dempsey :

Very doubtful.

Customer:

I checked the fluid and it's still full.

Customer:

So likely the float?

Stephen Dempsey :

The washer fluid light could also be a bad sending unit, but the circuit is very simple and it should be an easy fix.

Stephen Dempsey :

If it needs a float, you will replace the level sending unit as well (they are sold as one piece) so either way that should take care of it.

Customer:

OK. Hopefully something simple...the van runs and looks great. But, won't be able to justify any major repair.

Stephen Dempsey :

I doubt you will be looking at anything major. The CEL only monitors sensors and emissions related failures. With 57K miles I expect it will be minor. Perhaps an O2 sensor, or a tune up. The only way to know for sure is to have the code scanned.

Customer:

Thanks Stephen. I appreciate your time and input.

Stephen Dempsey :

You are most welcome. Any other questions you can think of?

Customer:

Yes, does the additive you put in oil to seal leaks really work?

Stephen Dempsey :

Sort of. All it does is cause rubber seals to swell up and seal temporarily. The only real solution to oil leaks is replacing the faulty seal(s).

Customer:

Yes, but that falls into the category of "major repair", which I'm trying to avoid. :) Can it be used more than once?

Stephen Dempsey :

Also, I am wary of adding anything to the oil as it is the only line of defense against engine failure. The best way to prevent oil leaks is to change the oil every 3,000 miles.

Stephen Dempsey :

Where is your leak?

Stephen Dempsey :

How bad is it (qts per 1000 miles)?

Customer:

Actually 3 small places...1 toward the front of the vehicle and two toward the back of the engine. Not a bad leak...haven't had to add oil yet and I noticed it about 3 weeks ago.

Stephen Dempsey :

I would not worry about it then. The vast majority of cars on the road have an oil leak or two. Just keep you eye on the level and put down some cardboard to keep your driveway or garage clean.

My mother has a '97 Villager with 190,000 miles on it. It looses a quart every 2000 miles or so, but the repair is more than the van is worth so she just adds oil when necessary. Of course, I am looking for a lower mileage vehicle for her.

Stephen Dempsey :

One thing that may slow down the leak is to run a thicker oil. The factory suggests 5W-30, but 10W-30 will do just fine and may limit the volume that escapes the seals.

Customer:

That's what I figured I would do. I'll get the CEL checked this weekend. Thanks again. Gotta run. You were a big help.

Stephen Dempsey :

I thank you in advance for clicking accept. Have a Merry Christmas!

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