Dear Doctor: I have problems with the “low tire pressure” indicator lights coming on in both my 2006 Toyota Sienna and 2007 Nissan Frontier. I have checked the air pressure and pushed the reset button on my Toyota. How much tolerance do these monitors have? Jack
Dear Jack: Join the low tire monitor light club. You are not alone, especially on cold winter mornings. The tolerance varies 4 to 6 pounds. The problem is a lot of shops did not spend the money to check and reset the monitors on the rims. Each manufacturer has its own special factory scan tool to check and reset or reprogram a new replacement tire pressure monitor. There are also some aftermarket scan tools that can reset and reprogram monitors. Some GM vehicles can be reprogrammed by the owner by following the steps outlines in the owner’s manual. You will have to take both vehicles to a tire shop or dealer to reset, reprogram or replace the faulty monitor. Yes, tire monitors do go bad.
Dear Doctor: I own a low mileage 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis with only 10,000 miles. Recently, when I fill the gasoline tank, the nozzle keeps clicking off. What could be the problem? Arnold
Dear Arnold: I would first try to change the angle of the nozzle while pumping the gas. If the nozzle does continue to click off, then the next step is to check the fill tube and see if there is an anti-slosh ball valve at the entrance of the gas tank. This will cause the gas to back up and click off the nozzle.
Dear Doctor: I own a very low mileage 2003 Ford Taurus with 78,000 miles. Every time I get in and start the car there is squeaking sound. I have had the car to the garage and they could not locate the source of the noise. I had the fan belt and pulley replaced twice. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Michael
Dear Michael: I suggest that you leave the car at the garage overnight. Let the technician start the engine cold and see if there is an engine squeal noise. If there is a noise, then shut the engine off and have the fan belt removed and again start the engine and see if the noise is gone. I have seen faulty belt tensioners, wrong belts installed (too long). The technician should also check the battery and alternator as well. There is also an engine synchronizer that we see often that goes bad and will sound just like a slipping fan belt. This noise source is often overlooked.
Dear Doctor: My daughter owns a 1994 Saturn Ion that is hard to start when the temperature goes drops 30 degrees.
The garage adjusted the clutch and that seemed to help for a short while. Some people say it’s a cluster switch. What is that? Gary
Dear Gary: Before I can respond I need to know what happens when the key is turned to the start position. If the engine does crank over, then do a check on the fuel pressure, ignition spark and engine coolant temperature. Then if the engine still does not crank over, check the clutch safety switch for power going in and out when the clutch pedal is depressed. A coolant sensor acts like the choke did on old carburetor vehicles. The coolant sensor can be out of range without setting the “check engine” light.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country minivan 3.8-liter with only 60,000 miles. When I fill the gas tank it never does fill all the way and when I drive away the engine will stumble and sometimes will stall. It starts right back up and then runs fine, until the next time I fill it up. What could be wrong? John
Dear John: I researched the issue on both our Identifix and Alldata web sites and found that the majority of repairs were gas tanks and vent valves, and a few had pinched vent lines.
Dear Doctor: I am interested in your opinion on both the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 and the Chevy Camaro SS. I plan on buying either one of these hot looking cars in the spring. I like the “back-to-the ’70s” look of the Challenger more than the Camaro. I have yet to drive either. What should I look for when taking them out for a test-drive? Roger
Dear Roger: I’ve driven both and found that the Dodge and Chevy have very different personalities. I thought the Dodge Challenger had the best retro design both inside and out, the exhaust sound also has the best growl. Power from the big 6.1-liter 425-horsepower Hemi did not come in until hitting the upper rpm range. At the lower rpm it did not feel like the powerhouse it resembles. The Camaro’s modern style was disappointing. I would have liked to see a more 1969 look. The Camaro SS has the best power and transmission. No matter what speed you’re traveling a light push on the gas pedal and hold on. The power output from the 6.2-liter 426-hp V/8 is beyond any expectation. — Junior Damato, Motor Matters
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
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Mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347
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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010