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Mike Herzing diagnoses broken taillights and anti-theft features

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Taillights that don't work can be a sign of a larger issue.

On his show “Let’s Talk Wheels,” Mike Herzing answers questions from listeners who write in. While their specific situation might not match yours exactly, there’s still plenty to be learned from their experiences — and his expertise.

Trevor writes: I have a 2008 GMC Yukon that has a taillight out. I replaced the bulb, and it didn’t help. The fuses are ok. What is the next step?

Mike Herzing: Your Yukon, like many newer vehicles, has a taillight circuit board that the bulbs and wiring harness plug into. Vibration, moisture, and age sometimes cause the circuit board to fail. If you replace a brake or taillight bulb and it still doesn’t work, this is where I would look first. Luckily, they are usually less than $15 and are relatively easy to replace.

Ed writes: I have a 2004 Subaru WRX-STI, and I love it. I am the original owner, and it is in pristine condition. Do you think this is a future classic?

It is absolutely a future classic, so hold onto it. The STI (which stands for Subaru Technica International) models are great to drive. Keeping it stock (no modifications) may add value. If you do make any changes such as wheels or exhaust, keep your stock parts! That is very important to a collector to be all original.

Liam writes: I own a 2010 Chevy Colorado (and I’m in Colorado), which has what my shop calls an “intermittent no start.” When it does this, I can go back later (or have it towed in), and it starts wonderfully! The problem is that it runs fine for days or weeks until it does it again. It has been tuned up and also had a new fuel pump put in last year.

MH: While I am not there to diagnose the problem, let me give you my best guess. GM used an anti-theft feature called Passlock for several years. Passlock utilizes a special lock cylinder that stops the engine from getting fuel (and running) until the proper chipped key is detected. Sometimes, the Passlock feature activates without any reason, making you sit and wait out a 10-minute delay. I have many friends that have gone on YouTube and found the exact procedure to bypass the system.

For more tips from Mike, visit Be sure to subscribe to the new “Let’s Talk Wheels” podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Play.

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