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 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 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…)

By on July 3, 2019

truck

Kurt writes:

Hello Sajeev,

Appreciate your postings!  Perhaps in future you or associates can find out why the USA (and by eventual inclusion, rest of world) has become infatuated with Lifted Trucks to point of lifting anything SUV or wagon under the sun (locally, we have folks trying to lift Foresters and Outbacks)?

(Find Out…)

By on June 20, 2019

ecoboost

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I wrote to you a few years ago regarding a water leak in the moonroof of my old 2010 Ford Fusion. I traded that car in 3 years ago on a brand new at the time 2015 Fusion Titanium with the 2.0 Ecoboost and AWD.

I have had this car for 3 years and just rolled over 100,000KM with it. My issue is that under hard acceleration from a low speed or a stop there is a whining noise that sounds like its coming from the front of the car. The whining noise sounds like the whine a supercharger makes. If i accelerate gently there is no noise and if I floor it on the highway there isn’t a noise I can hear either.

It seems to be only a low speed thing and heavy on the throttle that recreates it.

I took the car to the dealership last week while it was under warranty and they claimed it was the turbo and replaced the turbo and a number of associated parts. The car is still making the noise under the same conditions and now my warranty is done. I’ve googled the issue and been on the Ford forums and couldn’t find anything related to the noise i’m experiencing.

Any idea why my turbocharged 2.0 Ecoboost sounds like a supercharged engine?

(Find Out…)

By on January 11, 2019

question

Naseem writes:

Sajeev,

I read TTAC every day but have never commented. I’m not as witty as most of your readers. (Don’t sell yourself short! – SM)

Here’s my problem: I have my head screwed on too tight. I have always loved cars and am always shopping for my next car, but I rarely pull the trigger. My wife has a ‘12 Sienna with 40K miles that serves our family (three young kids) well. I drive an ‘04 MDX with 171K miles and I honestly love it. I really want a new car, maybe another MDX, maybe an F-150, but my MDX keeps going and going with little more than routine maintenance. I’m 41, have a good job, am on track for solid retirement savings, college savings and could afford whatever I want but I’m too financially responsible. Why buy a new car if the one I have is just fine — I should just continue to save, right?

So, I need a reason to be irresponsible and buy a new(er) car. Should I get rid of the MDX before it requires a major repair? What other reasons do you have to justify buying a newer vehicle? (Find Out…)

By on December 14, 2018

crown vic

Casey writes:

Hey Sajeev,

You once answered one of my questions regarding my Fusion of Malcontent, a car which NEVER stopped giving us issues even after we sold it: the new owner refused to put it into his name and we got many tickets from red light cameras.

Anyway, last month I purchased a beautiful Panther-platform Grand Marquis. I got a good deal on it and it’s in pristine condition with less than 50,000 miles. There are no issues with the car mechanically, but it was previously owned by someone who lived down a long red dirt road. There is dirt EVERYWHERE in the car. It’s in the light assemblies, the dash, pretty much every crevasse that one can think of. 

I’ve begun the long and tiring job of cleaning it, but wondering if you have any tips, suggestions, or ideas about how I should proceed?  

Currently, I’ve cleaned the entire outside of the car, the engine bay, and generally the driver’s area…but every time I look up I swear I find something else that’s covered in red dust.

How do I clean this car so that I can stop obsessing and start enjoying the Panther body that I’ve always dreamed of? (Find Out…)

By on August 31, 2018

2008 Chrysler Pacifica Limited AWD, Image: cargurus.com

Folks, I need automotive queries for publication on Piston Slap, my inbox is almost empty! Email [email protected]m so the TTAC community can help.  And yes, ask anything except for car purchasing advise for aforementioned reasons. – SM

Stefan writes:

Sajeev, here’s the latest news regarding our Chrysler Pacifica: it is gone! (Find Out…)

By on June 15, 2018

Jon writes:

Hey Sajeev,

My wife and I recently found out that we’re to add a third child to our family. As such, it’s time to trade in my wife’s 2016 Charger SXT and get something with a bit more room. We’ve decided on something used in the $15-23k range.

The obvious and sensible choice is a newer (2015-17) Grand Caravan/Pacifica/Town & Country. There are a plethora available and we could certainly get into something with the same 3.6-liter Pentastar that we have now with under 50k miles on it. I do like the engine and have driven it in minivan form. I would stick with the FCA offerings over the Honda/Toyota vans because I’m fully convinced that I’ll never make up the 25-30 percent price premium the Odyssey/Sienna command on the used market in repair cost savings.

On the other shoulder, the crazy part of me is considering getting the best Mercedes-benz E350 wagon that I can find in our price range. (Find Out…)

By on May 11, 2018

principal

Lou writes:

Hi, Sajeev:

Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve bounced between leasing/buying cars in my two-car family. Because of a severe case of always wanting what I don’t have (thankfully, this only happens with cars and bicycles), I’ve owned quite a few cars over this time period. Sometimes I think I want to own long-term and take pride in my ride of choice (2006 Mazda 6 wagon, for example), and other times I get fed up with issues, such as a $4,000 transmission replacement bill for said wagon, and I then decide I want the security and added features of a newer ride (just finished a three-year lease of a 2015 Outback 2.5 Limited).

So, with my car shopping neurosis briefly explained, what type of car should I be looking for, and what type of preventative maintenance should I undertake, if I decide to buy and keep? I don’t necessarily mean a specific make and model. What I mean is, since I do make quite a few short trips of about a mile throughout the day (I live and work in the same town), and the car barely has a chance to warm up in the morning, is there a specific engine specification I should look for? Whether the car was purchased or leased, I’ve always taken it easy in the bitter cold, and I’d even drive a bit out of my way to get the car closer to operating temperature before reaching my school.

Also, before the B&B tells me to ride my bicycle or walk, I’m a K-5 Principal with other duties that can take me away from my school at any moment, so I don’t want to ride my bike around town when I have to see the Superintendent, or when I visit the high school to conduct bullying investigations. I also pick up my kids’ friends in the morning, and their parents reciprocate as well, so any car I have for the foreseeable future will have to perform many short trips.

Many thanks, and keep up the good work! (Find Out…)

By on April 27, 2018

Image: Magna

TTAC Commentator gimmeamanual writes:

Hi Sajeev,

The recent article about the carbon fiber subframe by Magna and the comments predicting vehicle life-ending failures got me to thinking — in the last 10 years or so, has any automaker introduced an innovation or major shift from the norm that resulted in repair costs so expensive that the vehicle would be better off scrapped inside what one would consider its prime service life (say, 10yrs/100k)?

It seems we’re often too ready to predict gloom (turbos exploding, unrepairable aluminum trucks) and not give the engineering teams the credit they deserve. Yeah, some technologies do suck in execution, like the Focus DCT, but they don’t result in scrapyards filling up with otherwise pristine examples. (Find Out…)

By on February 9, 2018

TTAC commentator PandaBear writes:

Hi Sanjay, (First Sanjeev, now we’re using my brother’s name? – SM)

I have a ’97 Acura Integra RS on which my mechanic recently did a top end rebuild. The radiator got stuck closed and somehow created a vacuum in the cooling system, overheated and warped the head. Soon after the rebuild a new grinding noise started and the mechanic isolated it to a failing water pump bearing. Before the rebuild my car had a noise that I thought might be exhaust or valvetrain related, but ended up being the failing water pump. After the water pump was replaced the car is a lot quieter, and because it is a lot quieter, I’m now hearing cold start piston slap that I never heard before.

The cold start piston slap seems to remain till the engine is completely warmed up. It seems to come when the outside temperature is about 50F or lower. The car has about 260k original miles and is in OK condition, and I’ve replaced the ignition coil, radiator, axles, struts / shocks, hoses, oil pan gasket, so far so it actually drives OK for its age (kind of hard as the bushings are old). How much should I worry about the piston slap if all I care is durability of the engine? My goal is to daily drive another 5-10 years and 100k miles out of it if possible without a rebuild or an engine swap.

(Find Out…)

By on December 1, 2017

 

tire storage

TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey writes:

Sajeev,
Here is a timely question, as up here in snow country we are now packing away our “summer” tires. What is the best way, scientifically, to store tires? I traditionally have:

  • Stored them on their rims
  • Removed the plastic tire bag (learned this the hard way when a set of rims “rotted” one summer
  • Wiped down/washed the rims to take off any salt
  • Let out about 4 to 5 psi from each tire
  • Stored them in our attached, unheated garage
  • Placed rubber mats under them so that they are not in with the cement
  • Placed old sheets over them so that they are not in direct sunlight

Previously I stored them stacked on their sides. All 4 wheels/rims from each vehicle in one column, on top of each other, using a tire storage “pole” bought from Canadian Tire. Last winter I stored them vertically (meaning I just rolled them in beside each other), but on the rubber mats and under the sheets.

So what is the best way? And how often should they be rotated/moved?

(Find Out…)

By on May 12, 2017

 

brochure

TTAC Commentator Towncar writes:

I have some piddling little aggravations and head-scratchers, and it appears those serve to entertain the B&B as well as anything.

  1. Black Pillars: When and why did the black B-pillar take over the world? Presumably it’s to make you think it’s not there and the car’s a hardtop, but there’s never been a single case where that worked — not one. Even on a black car, the finish is sufficiently different that you can tell the pillar is present.
  2. Colors: Why are there no good interior colors anymore — red, blue, green? The only current one I know of, fairly recent, is the Rhapsody in Blue interior on the new Continental, and you have to buy the ultra-highline Black Label edition to get it. Which brings up the question: why do so few interiors really match anymore? It used to be that two-tone interiors looked designed that way, but now they just seem to have been put together from parts for different cars.
  3. Gas Fillers: Have any of the fool engineers who put gas fillers on the passenger’s side ever tested this concept out by going through a gas line backwards? (By the way, this pertains to the G6 convertible you advised me to buy about four years ago, and belated thanks, it’s generally great.)
  4. Wipers: Why has the old-fashioned opposed (clap hands) style come back of late years? I saw some kind of little Ford with this lately, and I think a Honda or two. And pertaining to the newer parallel style, what determines which side the wipers “point” to?  It’s almost always the passenger’s, but I can think of two cars having them point the other way — the suicide-door Continentals of the ’60s and the Avanti. Why?
  5. TPMS: OK, this is actually semi-serious. How good are these things? The G6’s dash display gives pressures, but seldom agrees with my trusty tire gauge at the best of times, and changes in temperature and even bumps in the road sometimes trigger the warning light. Can the sensors be adjusted and/or calibrated for accuracy? And are the retrofit kits you can buy for older cars any good?

(Find Out…)

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