Dreaded "3 bars" on dash issue - Smart Car Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
 
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Dreaded "3 bars" on dash issue

My 2013 Cabriolet has started acting up, where I'd say once out of maybe every 8-12 times I start it, I get the "D" flashing on the dash as I try to drive off, and the car refuses to change gears. If I pull off to the side and shut the engine off, it won't restart again. Just get the 3 horizontal bars on the dash instead of the gear showing up.

I can do the trick of leaving it off for 20 seconds or so, turning it to the "on" position but not starting it while holding down the brake. And I hear it do the little "click, clunk" sounds a few times, and then the transmission seems to be recalibrated, and I get the "P" on the dash again. After that? I'm good for another 8-12 trips or so before it does it again.

No odd shifting problems or anything else noted when it's running properly. Haven't gotten any service engine light either. Any ideas what to do to fix this one?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 12:01 PM
 
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It’s about time to check the 12 V battery health. Have you done that, first on the list in my opinion.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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re: battery

Interesting .... No, I Haven't done that. Never saw evidence it was having a hard time starting, like a low battery would usually do.
But it very well might be the original battery in the car still? I bought it used, less than a year ago - so not sure what the original owner did or didn't swap out.


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It’s about time to check the 12 V battery health. Have you done that, first on the list in my opinion.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 04:59 PM
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Due to the awkward location of the 451 battery, I do not ever want to be stranded with a low or dead battery. I have replaced my battery every four and a half years faithfully. It may be overkill, but I have never experienced an electrical issue with my car in almost ten years.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 12:39 AM
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It could be one of several things. The clutch actuator could need cleaned and lubed. There are 2 shift motors that changes the gears. One of them could be dirty and need cleaned and lubed. The computer is losing track of what gear the transmission is in. When you select a gear the computer expects it to be in that gear within a preset amount of time. If the clutch actuator or a shift motor is slow about operating, the gear doesn't get selected quick enough and the computer panics and gives you the 3 bars. It could be other things but I believe this is probably the most likely cause of your problems. DCO
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