Let’s Talk Wheels June Car Questions

Courtesy photo

Kenneth asks: I want a new Wrangler Unlimited. The dealers here in Oklahoma don’t stock many of these and they are almost impossible to find a deal on a used one. Where can I get a good deal on a hot vehicle like those? Do you recommend the V6 or the 4 banger for highway use?  Thanks!

Mike: That is the one vehicle that because of the unbelievably high resale value, it is better to buy new than used. And I would buy the V6 and not the I-4. It is tried and true engine and one of Wards 10 best last year. I would look online for a deal.

Brianna in Katy asks: The drivers door of my 2009 Acura TL “pops” when I try to close it. It also seems to “catch” a little when you first try to pull it in. What could it be?

Mike: It sounds like the check strap needs to be lubricated. Get a little spray white grease and spray a little on it.

Dianne asks: I have a problem keeping the hatch up on my 2011 Honda SUV. After I open it, it immediately starts sinking to the floor. What do I do?

Mike: Go online and order a set of aftermarket hatch support struts. They are one third the price online or at the parts house than at the dealer.

Marcus in Columbus asks: I have a 2000 Ford F250 with a 7.3 diesel engine. At certain times, it just dies and won’t start again for 3 hours. It may run for a week and do it again. I have no idea what to look for. It only has 180k miles, so I don’t think it is worn out, or is it?

Mike: It is almost always a bad Camshaft Position Sensor causing the problem. The 7.3 Cummins is one of the best engines ever made. My son has a 2000 F250 with a 7.3 and carries a CPS in his glove box. And DO NOT get a sensor at the parts store. Get an OEM one at the International Dealer or the Ford Dealer. The Parts store ones fail.   

Chris has a 2013 Ford Expedition with power windows. Two of the windows work slowly and the rest are fine. Do the two motors need to be replaced or adjusted? Thanks!

Mike: Nope, you just have to lubricate the run channels with spray silicone occasionally. They tend to dry out after a few years. It is just maintenance.  

Trey just bought a Infiniti G35 that has oil leaking from the valve covers. Are the gaskets hard to replace? Can he do it himself?

Mike: Well, one side is a little bit of a pain to replace and the other side is REALLY a pain to do. The intake Plenum has an upper and lower and other very difficult parts have to be removed to do this and I HIGHLY recommend you having someone with training do this. There are a lot of 14 year old brittle plastic parts that have to be removed that love to break off.

Larry has a 2016 Chevy Silverado with 40k miles. He was pulling a travel trailer and the transmission started acting funny. His shop says he overheated the fluid and it needs a flush. Isn’t the fluid made to get hot?  

Mike: Transmission fluid should run about 185-195 degrees. For every 18 degrees over that, the fluid life degrades. Some say by as much as 50%. When it degrades, it doesn’t protect the clutches and bearings. That is when it gets expensive. When you have overheated the fluid like that, you need to get ALL of it out as soon as possible. And that is by doing a flush. Now, replacing it with fully synthetic fluid will protect it better, and I recommend that.

Dominick has a NEW GMC Acadia. He loves it, but when he accelerates hard, the steering wheel wants to jerk to one side. It is slight, but it is still there. The salesman says it’s normal, with front wheel drive cars, but is it really?

Mike: The salesman is right on this one. The reason is that the driveshafts on front wheel drive vehicles are different lengths. That means that power is delivered to one wheel more efficiently than the other. Now, if the car was an “all wheel drive’ you wouldn’t notice it much at all. And, on slippery roads you would ba a lot safer.

Mark: Mike,how hot is an engine supposed to run? I remember when 160-180 degrees was normal, but the new cars seem to run MUCH hotter.

Mike The normal operating temperature for most engines is in a range of 195 to 220 degrees, though most dashboard gauges don’t show an exact temperature. Instead, there are usually marks for cold and hot on the edges of the gauge and a normal range in the middle. But it is ok; engines are designed to run this hot. It’s all for emissions. If they don’t run this hot, it will damage the catalytic converter and cost you money.

Donna was wondering if flushing it would help her 2013 CRV’s overheating problem. On the freeway, it runs hotter and hotter, and when it gets to H she slows down and cruises @30mph, and it cools off. Then when she speeds up, it starts creeping up again. It is full of antifreeze.  

Mike: It sounds like you have a restricted radiator. Flushing won’t help that. The tech will check using an infrared thermometer and looking for a “cold” spot signifying there isn’t flow across that area. A radiator replacement is the cheapest fix for that problem.