LCT’s resident car doctor, Bryan Baker, has been working on vehicles for most of his life. As a young boy, he started working on cars with his father. Baker has been a professional mechanic for almost 17 years, including three years as a mechanic for the United States Marine Corps.
In 1996, Baker started working on limousines for a local limo service in Huntsville, Ala. It wasn’t long before word got out that there was a local mechanic who was proficient with all types of limousines. Baker currently owns Classic Automotive & Limousine Service Center in Huntsville, Ala., and repairs limousines for at least seven local operators, including Starlight Limousine Service, the 2005 Operator of the Year Award winner for 1-10 Vehicles.
Baker receives numerous e-mail inquiries from LCT readers regarding mechanical problems and he volunteers his time to respond to each and every one of them. Here are a few recent Q-and-A’s.
The other day my 1998 Lincoln Town Car stretch had a flat tire and the air shocks would not go up. I could not locate a switch in the trunk to make them go back up. Can you tell me where the switch is or how to adjust them so the back end of the car goes back up? If you had a flat, and the car will not come back up, you have an airbag problem. Was it a blowout or just a flat while sitting still? If it was a blowout, there is a good chance that the airbag is torn or ripped. Turn the ignition on, get out of the car and close the door. The air compressor under the hood should come on. If you hear it come on, go to the rear of the car and listen for escaping air. This will tell you if the bag is damaged. When you had the flat, did someone else change it for you? If they did, they may have turned the system off. There is a switch located in the trunk on either the left or right side. There is a yellow label around the switch that is labeled “air ride” and it has “on” and “off” clearly printed on it. Make sure this switch is in the “on” position. If these fail, please let me know and I will give you a few more steps to look for. I recently purchased a 120-inch 2000 Lincoln Town Car from a dealer. The vehicle had an odometer reading of 7,400 miles. The dealer told me it was a private limousine. The exterior is in excellent shape, including the tires. The interior looks brand new and has the new car leather smell. Overall, the vehicle looks new and runs great. I'm very suspicious about the odometer reading, though. I took the car to a local Ford dealer for a safety check and asked if they could find evidence to dispute the mileage. They could not tell me if the mileage had been tampered with. I felt better, but I still have my suspicions. Is there anything you can tell me to help me prove or disprove the mileage?
Unfortunately, unless the vehicle was serviced at a dealer or another place that reports to Carfax, there is little you can do to prove or disprove the mileage shown. I suggest you run a Carfax on it and see what it shows. I would also call the local dealer’s service department and have them run the VIN number and see if they can find any records. Hope I have helped. I have a 2002 Lincoln Town Car and the speedometer is not working. The mechanics at the dealership don’t know how to fix the problem and they are baffled. The dashboard does not indicate speed, mileage or other data. Please advise as this vehicle has been in the shop for six weeks. Even the Lincoln mechanics are stumped!
This is a very simple problem to fix. There is a speed sensor that tells the computer how fast the car is going. There is a computer that takes the information and calculates the distance, range and economy based on the gas gauge, and there is a display where you actually read the information. Any technician with a Snap-On Scanner can plug into the car and see if the speed sensor is reporting to the computer. If it is not, check the sensor with a known good unit, then check the wires from the sensor to the computer. If this fails, you will have to dig deeper, but this should lead the Ford technicians in the right direction. Please let me know if I can help you further.