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1995 Volvo 850

A Readers Question…

Hi, I have a 1995 Volvo 850 wagon, non-turbo. Sometimes when I turn the car on, the headlights don’t work, the turn signal doesn’t work, the ABS warning light comes on and I have to press the shift override button to get the car out of gear. I used to turn the car off and back on and that would clear it up. Now sometimes that works and other times I have to hit the steering wheel and then everything’s fine. It sounds to me as though I have an electrical problem somewhere but I wondered if you had ever heard of this problem?

Do you know what the possible fixes are? I guess a wire would have to be replaced but would the mechanic have to remove the dash to do that or could they get to it some other way?

I would like to sound somewhat knowledgeable when I take it in for repair.

Thanks!

Fay

Answer:

Whenever multiple systems have problems the best way to start searching for the problem is to find what those systems have in common. In this case the Lighting, ABS and Shift Interlock Systems have two things in common. The Ignition Switch and the wiring in the steering column. So that is where I would start looking for the problem. A good technician will be able to check the ignition switch at the connector to see if the proper power is coming in and going out at each position.

If the power is coming in but not coming out then the ignition switch is at fault. If proper power is coming in and going out, the problem is in the wiring after the ignition switch. If the ignition switch is not getting the proper power then the problems is in the wiring before the ignition switch.