Posts By: Sajeev Mehta

By on October 11, 2019

Image: Honda

(Yes, this is the third consecutive post about batteries, so please accept my apology and I promise next week will be a different subject. -SM) 

TTAC Commentator civicjohn writes:

Sajeev,

My daughter is at college 200 miles away from me. She called me on the way to work and said that she thought her battery was going dead, because she got the dreaded “clicking” noise while trying to start it. The battery was replaced about 3 years ago, and the alternator and starter were checked and found to be ok.

The car is a 2007 Honda Accord EX-L with 95k miles on it, all service done by the dealer, timing belt changed at 75k, all fluids, everything up to date (I always took it to the dealership; I know I overpaid, but it has a pristine service record).

So I’m about to order a battery from an auto parts store that will install it for no charge, I’m cool with that, but is there any advice on what type of battery I should get? I’ve picked one out, it has a 1-year replacement warranty. Should I spend more, or do I just plan on replacing the battery every 3 years or so?

The car is pristine, she learned how to drive in that car, and I hate to see her sign up for a new car loan when I’ve had friends that have got 150k + service out of these cars. Also, I’ve read about putting vaseline on the terminals, etc. Do any of these tricks extend the battery life? (Find Out…)

By on October 4, 2019

TTAC regular Ronnie Schreiber writes:

Sajeev,

Tonight, while driving on the interstate, the tire pressure warning light came on in my ’15 Honda Fit, then the ESC light came on, then the power steering warning light came on, and then the info display said to check the charging system. Everything seemed to be working just fine, though. I pulled off to check the serpentine belt, which was intact so I started searching on the internet for the symptoms.

According to the forums, it’s sort of a known problem that’s due to glitches in the electrical system causing erroneous fault codes. Dealers usually try replacing the alternator, which doesn’t help. The alternator harness, the ABS sensors, and the injectors/coil packs have all been mentioned in the forums as fixing the problem.

I’ll check all the connections in the morning, but in the meantime I’m leaning towards a faulty ABS sensor, since those are used for the TPMS in my car, not an actual pressure transducer, and the first light that goes on is for tire pressure. Also, the check charging system warning was intermittent.

What do you think? (Find Out…)

By on September 27, 2019

TTAC Commentator mr_mike59 writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve been following you and Sanjeev for many years on TTAC. Until now, I have mostly been interested in your advice and input related to other folks, and their sometimes obscure issues. At this time, however, I feel the need to reach out to look for some much needed advice.

My father-in-law is a Suburban man. Has been for over 35 years now. Unfortunately, the one he has at this point is suffering from some hard to track down electrical gremlins. He currently has a 2008 Suburban with the 5.3-liter and close to 150k on the odometer. For the past 3 winters, on their way to their snow birding location (an on the way home), they have been beset with charging issues that several shops have been unable to properly track down. The car will run fine for a good portion of the trip, with the only indication of a problem being a charging gauge that doesn’t sit still. However, when they are a good 6 or 8 hours into day one of their travels (pulling a 3,500 lb trailer), the voltmeter starts to sag, and all of the electrical systems start to shut down. This has caused them to either spend a fair amount of time on the side of the road, or cost into dealers up and down the east coast. (Find Out…)

By on September 26, 2019

TTAC Ford Sierra Merkur XR4ti, Image: Sajeev MehtaDo enough tasks independently from each other and there’s enough content for a two-fer update on TTAC’s Ford Sierra.

So let’s get to it.

(Find Out…)

By on September 20, 2019

vw

Mati writes:

Hello Sajeev!

Just finished reading your Piston Slap entry regarding the 2010 Audi A4, and I want to see what you think about my situation. Recently I relocated to the UK for work/travel and will be here for at least two years. I want to try something not available in the U.S. market and take advantage of the open roads here in the outskirts. I don’t live in a big town so no congestion/pollution tax to worry about.
My budget is £5,000 purchasing price, and my search for an euro hot hatch gave me only one Japanese branded product , some Fords, and a lot of interesting European models. But all around the 10 year mark give or take. In my situation would it be any better to go with an European 10-year-old hot-hatch then, say, a UK-Built Honda or a Ford?
A search on local classified and Bookface nets me a few nice results :
  • 2008 Honda Civic Coupe Type R
  • 2009 Ford Focus ST
  • 2007 RENAULTSPORT CLIO 197 F1 TEAM R27 LY 2.0
  • 2010 Citroen DS3
  • 2010 Peugeot RCZ
  • 2009 VW Scirocco
Looking forward to your reply! Cheers!

(Find Out…)

By on September 13, 2019

Image: Audi AG

NW writes:

Hello there Sajeev, hope all is well with you. I have an issue with a 2010 Audi A4; my boyfriend bought this car from a dealership (used). However, he didn’t even have the car six months before realizing there was a piston ring problem — he would have to top up the oil when driving the car. We informed the dealership about it, but they gave us the run-around and did not fix the problem.

The car is financed so he’s still paying for it and has about $9,000 left. The car is completely dead at this point; we know about the cost to fix the car but we’re stuck on what to do with the car. Working to pay to fix the car is a lot within itself and we can’t sell it because we’re still paying for it.

We also ed Audi but they didn’t help us, really. Any solution to this problem? (Find Out…)

By on September 6, 2019

TJ writes:

My New Year’s resolution this year was to get my grandfather’s 1979 Chevy C10 running and driving again. It’s been parked in the garage since I drove it in there when my wife and I moved into our house in spring 2012. I stopped driving it because the transmission needed (another) rebuild and I didn’t have the time or money then. I’ve managed to get it running (full carb cleaning and new sending unit in the tank) and it will idle after some urging.

Now the next issue: I decided to check the brakes by jacking up first one end then the other and spinning the tires, then having someone step on the brakes (my 4 year old loved it). 3 out of 4 wheels spin, but the brakes don’t stop more spinning. The front passenger is stuck. I was able to get the rotor to turn some with a breaker bar. I could also hear some dragging in the rear passenger drum, but I was still able to turn it by hand. The pedal has some firmness, but not a lot and it doesn’t get hard after the engine is off (have to check the booster once I get the brakes working).

My first thought is to replace the front calipers and rotors (rotors probably need it anyway) and wheel bearings, since the rotors will be off. I’m not above rebuilding the rear drums also. Before I drop a bunch of money on parts, I thought I’d reach out for advice. (Find Out…)

By on August 30, 2019

Sierra Lima 2.3 motor swap, Image: Sajeev Mehta

Most of this dialogue happened:

Brian: “My wife and kids are going on vacation somewhere I’d never go (Disney World) so that’s a good time to drive up to Dallas and work on the Sierra.”

Me: “Your family just had to pick the hottest week of the year to dump you on me, didn’t they?” 

Brian: “Shut up, Sanjeev! Get over here and work on your stupid brown car!”

(Find Out…)

By on August 23, 2019

TTAC Commentator haroldhill writes:

Dear Sajeev,

My wife is driving (and loving) her 2009 MINI Cooper which has been a delight and remarkably trouble-free for 10 years. However, it recently developed a problem which has befuddled us and our highly reputable independent mechanic as well.

Under certain conditions the engine stumbles, feeling somewhat like an erratic misfire on one cylinder or fuel starvation; however, the stumbling vanishes when accelerator load is increased. The required conditions are: fully warmed up (10-15 minutes of driving), engine speed between 2700 and 3300 rpm, and light throttle appropriate to steady cruising. The stumbling will eventually bring on the “check engine” light and a P115C error code (Mass Air Flow).

If the engine is turned off for a few minutes (e.g. for a highway rest stop) the stumbling will disappear and won’t reappear until the car has been driven for another ten minutes, suggesting the fault is something remote enough from the engine that it can cool substantially in five minutes. After a few uneventful driving cycles, of course, the “check engine” light turns itself off. Thanks for nothing. On the other hand, this would be how I got it through emissions inspection…

Thus far the Mass Air Flow Meter has been replaced twice and the Throttle Body once. The latter seemed to help for awhile but I can’t be sure because it’s only recently that I’ve pinned down the exact conditions that will reliably bring this problem on. My wife, who does most of the driving, is a bit of a leadfoot and generally has much less trouble with this stumbling.

Our wonderful mechanic would appreciate any ideas or suggestions.

(Find Out…)

By on August 16, 2019

TTAC Commentator Stefan writes:

Sajeev, my old triple-black 1997 Town Car has developed some air conditioning problems and my trusted independent shop seems unable to duplicate it nor to understand it. Maybe you and the B/B can help?

The a/c always works when starting up the car but will abruptly cut out after a while, almost as if the clutch disengaged. This happens even when the system is fully charged. I was told by the technician to keep the fan blowing full speed but this merely delays the inevitable cutting out. There does not seem to be a refrigerant leak. Not being an air conditioning expert by any means, I am at a loss on how to proceed.

The car has only 170,000 miles on the meter and should be good for another 100,000. Not wanting to spend big bucks on replacing the entire system, where to start? (Find Out…)

By on August 9, 2019

Greg writes:

Good day Sajeev,

I recently signed a three-year lease on a Grand Cherokee Upland. The Upland is an appearance group that includes tow hooks, blacked-out trim and great big (20”) wheels wrapped in some fairly aggressive all-terrain tires (Goodyear Wrangler All Terrain Adventure). Boy, does FCA love “appearance groups.”

I live in the great white snow belt of Western New York where we get around 100 inches of snow per year. On my last two vehicles (Ram 1500 and Toyota 4Runner), I used winter tires for about 4 months of the year and was very happy with them.

I have the opportunity to purchase winter tires on steel wheels for this Jeep at a steep discount from a coworker. My question is, do I need them or should I rely on the A/T’s that are on the Jeep already? The stock tires are well-reviewed for winter use but I’ve heard horror story about low profile tires and big rims in the snow.

What’s your take? (Find Out…)

By on July 22, 2019

TTAC Commentator Znueni writes:

Dear Sajeev,

We have a 2007 Honda CRV with nice Continental winter tires mounted, speed rating of H. We only put around 8k miles a year on it with short hops and maybe one long 800 mile trip in the summer. Living in a moderate climate (couple snows a year, summers max out high 80’s for a month or two) and using the car so little, we’re considering running winter tires year round.

Think doing so will ruin them quickly? Your sage opinion welcomed!

(Find Out…)

By on July 19, 2019

Caroline Writes:

Good day Sajeev:

I was blessed to find your information on line.  I am experiencing the exact issues mentioned on your site regarding my 2013 Volvo S60. Do you have any advice regarding the best way to handle this matter? Here are the details:

November 2015, I purchased a used 2013 Volvo S60 with 33,000 miles from a Volvo dealer. The car worked fine, within the last year (2018) the synthetic oil started burning out within 60-90 days. Synthetic oil changes are supposed to last for 7k miles. (my oil changes didn’t last for 1,000 mi). I have taken my car for servicing at the Volvo dealer. I searched the web and found my issue is a common issue with Volvo: Piston, Oil leaking, engine problems. There has not been a recall.

Dealer states they will cover parts, but I must pay $2900 for service hours. Why should I suffer penalty of $2900 for an international issue with the make and model of Volvo?

(Find Out…)

By on July 12, 2019

 

After our last installment, I feel nothing but regret for misrepresenting butchering TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey’s query.  Because people do get in their car to warm it up before beginning the process of rooftop snow removal. And they’d prefer to remove roof snow, not snow that fell into power window switch pods.

So after multiple emails, a promise to try again. To which Mr. Dailey’s reply was:

“OK.  But perhaps you could expand that to explain something related to car design?  Which is why I sent the question to your attention.”

(Find Out…)

By on July 11, 2019

 

snow

TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey writes (and edited to remove confusion):

Sajeev,

Opening my 2011 Hyundai Sonata’s door this morning after a beautiful overnight snowfall (Yes, it takes that long to answer Piston Slap questions – SM), I once again was confronted with a driver’s seat and inside door panel, covered in snow.

Those living in the snow belt will often park their car at the rink, library, ski hill, mall, at work etc. and return to find it covered in snow. You don’t bring your scraper with you in these situations. And even if you use your glove/arm/hand to clear some of the snow, when you open your door, the residue falls. Onto your power window/mirror/door lock mechanisms. And often onto the seat. You get into your car and start it to warm it up and help clear the windshield. And that residue melts.

This is a re-occurring problem: happening in many other vehicles that I have recently rented/owned. With the sloped roofs now common on cars, snow regularly falls into the passenger compartment when you open the door. There used to be gutters/sills along the edges of car rooflines. In fact I believe that up until the 1960’s they might have been an optional extra, as they were often chromed. Later they were just an integrated part of the roof.

I can’t remember exactly when roofline gutters disappeared from cars, but I understand that this was probably due to aerodynamic issues. I also noticed that there are a number of aftermarket options now available, sometimes referred to as ‘rain guards’.

However why can’t auto designers develop a roofline that prevents snow from dropping onto the car seats whenever the door is opened?

(Find Out…)

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