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I have a 2013 Cadillac XTS. When the car is hot, after a very long ride or warm outside temperature, my right headlight does not always come on either in auto or manual mode, but if it does come on, it stays on without a problem no matter how far I go. Once I turn it off, it will not come back on. I have switched bulbs, bought new bulbs, change ballasts, all to no avail. Is there a wire in the headlight assembly that is causing the problem? – Marc L

In my day to day business, most High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlight problems are eventually traced back to a failed bulb or ballast. While a bad wire can cause the oddest of electrical issues, one wouldn’t typically experience the electrical issues in the fashion that you describe. Therefore, I have to wonder whether you made a mistake in your initial diagnostic steps. Perhaps something was overlooked or not connected properly when you installed the ballasts?

Once you are absolutely sure that the bulb and ballast are good, only then move on. Your vehicle’s Body Control Module (BCM) controls your headlights. American and Canadian headlight systems are different, with Canadian systems employing Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which makes them more complicated. Before digging deep into your wiring harness, have the vehicle’s BCM scanned for any headlight related errors. Unfortunately, if a bulb or ballast doesn’t fix the problem, you are likely going to need to seek the help of a professional.

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Hi Lou, Would you know of a good/great garage in Sudbury, Ont., that would take care of my aging 2010 Ford Escape? Your help is appreciated. – Robert V

Thank you Robert, I appreciate your kind words. If you go a few hours down the road to my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie I might be able to help you out, but unfortunately not Sudbury.

I do hear all the time that discovering a reliable mechanic is right up there with a finding thorough doctor that doesn’t make you wait for hours and of course, a great hair salon.

There are plenty of decent, qualified shops in your area, it’s just finding them can sometimes be a lengthy process.

On that note, we commonly get phone calls, where the person on the other line only wants to know our hourly labour rate. I remind people to not shop for a new repair facility based on the posted hourly labour rate. Which is cheaper? A garage that charges you one-hour labour at $120 an hour to find and repair a problem, or another at $90 an hour that takes two to three hours to find and fix the same problem? The go-to research method for me personally is Google reviews, as I know that the business owner cannot modify or change the posted customer reviews. Every business gets a few negative reviews, I get most value from a business review by reading the owner’s response to a negative review. This usually tells me everything I need to know about how the business is operated.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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