96 pontiac grand am computer/electrical trouble

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  #1  
Old 07-16-02, 11:28 PM
chshrkat
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Unhappy 96 pontiac grand am computer/electrical trouble

Hi.

my car is a 1996 pontiac grand am SE, 2.4 liter engine, automatic transmission.

approximately a month ago it was stolen from the small state park i work in. it was found the next day upside down in a ditch, beaten but mostly intact. the main issue i'm having is that the theft system was triggered and i can't afford the painful hourly price for the dealer to diagnose and correct the problem, nor can i afford the scantool needed for the OBDII system my car computer is run on. i've read the manual extensively and tried all i can think of, however my automotive knowledge is very limited. is there some way other than buying the scantool to clear the computer's error memory? is there some other way i could start my car just to see if my engine is still in some sort of working order?

please help if you can, i'm a working single mother and i really need my vehicle back asap. i do greatly appreciate any help. thanks so much for your time.

-Kate.

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  #2  
Old 07-17-02, 05:55 AM
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Probably no way around getting it to someone with the proper scanner. One way would be to have it towed to a local parts place that does scanning for free. AutoZone, for one, advertises this service rather extensively if there are AutoZones in your area. If not, try some of the other big-name parts places as this may be a growing trend (they figure if they read your codes for you, you'll but the repair parts from them; smart idea). The tow will cost some $, but probably not nearly as much as diagnostic fees (especially at a dealership!). I'm not up on those security systems, so it may in fact HAVE to go to a dealer. Joe Cool should be a long to address that.

Was the car insured?
 
  #3  
Old 07-17-02, 06:00 AM
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Oh, additional note. If you arrange to have it towed somewhere for a quick code reading/reset, see if the towing company will cut you a break on the price of towing back to your house. For us, we would simply charge you whatever additional mileage there was back to the house and would not charge an additional hook-up fee, since the car could stay on the truck and the driver could just get a cup of coffee and wait for the scanner work (provided it was done right away and didn't involve waiting more than 15-20 minutes or so).
 
  #4  
Old 07-17-02, 06:06 AM
Joe_F
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Finding the car upside down in a ditch is not a good thing . You can probably fix the car, but it's on borrowed time. If the roof was damaged by flipping it over, that will compromise the integrity of the vehicle. I'm sure it was driven very hard and abused, so keep your eye on it as you put it back into service.

Tow Guy gave you a good idea about the scanning of the codes. I agree with him. Hit any Autozone and see if they can help. Call the store first, speak to the manager there, see if they can help you if you have the car towed to them. They will probably be at least able to see what's going on inside the computer.

Does the car even run? Sounds like the antitheft system wasn't too effective if they were able to steal it .
 
  #5  
Old 07-17-02, 12:05 PM
JackMaster
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the_tow_guy asked a very important question....was it insured? If so and a police report was filed, you should be able to file a claim with your insurance company for the repairs. That is what insurance is for.
 
  #6  
Old 07-18-02, 01:44 AM
chshrkat
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Thanks kindly for all your replies. i'm not at all sure if we have an Autozone here (small town, likely not), but the idea is wonderful. so even if not, i'll be quick to find an alternative. the tow fees shouldn't be too painful, but the costs on the windshield and the impound yard storage fees were horrendous, so i'm a bit wiped out... i'm sure someone has a car trailer somewhere here if i ask really nicely

As far as the car being insured.... it was, but liability only. as i said, i'm a single parent of two, and couldn't afford full coverage. so basically, the bill is on me. the roof of the car surprisingly was not damaged. the tow guy that brought my car home suggested that it was flipped by hand, considering the damage was 'minimal', and said that it wasn't uncommon for him to find that to be the case.

and to reply on the theft system not working.. sadly, that was the first time in 3 years i'd left my keys in my car by accident. the town i work in is so small, i've become accustomed to letting my guard down because i know almost everyone. i guess its not safe anywhere anymore. but.. now that you mention.. the airbags never went off, i was kind of surprised about that one.

Anyhow, again, I am honestly very grateful for your time and help. thank you all kindly.

-Kate
 
  #7  
Old 07-18-02, 09:07 AM
Joe_F
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You might try going to Autozone's website and seeing if they have a store locator and if you can find one close by. If not, call around to various parts stores/chains and see if they do code reading/clearing.

As others have mentioned, many have followed Autozone's policy with free code scanning. Try Advance, Track, Discount, Napa, etc to see if they do it as well. Coordinate it with the store manager or their technician so you don't waste a tow bill getting it there.

I live in NYC, we always lock our doors and batten down the hatches here (although I live in a safe and great neighborhood in the suburbs with a couple of NYC detectives on my block . Lol)
 
  #8  
Old 07-18-02, 02:49 PM
chshrkat
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thanks joe

honestly, it has eased my mind indescribable amounts to have all the help. i was about to blow a fuse... i'm from both LA and San Fran where you never never leave your car unlocked, i know the feeling.. but one long day at work and i screwed up. goes to show you're not really too safe anywhere. i've also posted on another board and the suggestions have been wonderful. i'm going out now to try one of them, before i make the calls to the parts stores locally. i'll write and let you all know the status. again, thank you for your kindness. it really is appreciated.


-Kate
 
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