Q&A with Beth
popular demand, I will be answering customer questions this month. I like to
preface these Q & A sessions by simply saying I don't have all the answers.
I take your questions to our ASE certified mechanics and get them to explain
the possible causes for the problems. It's not a diagnosis because we haven't
seen your vehicle in person, but it is a step in the right direction. So let's
Q. I have a 2002 Saab convertible. About a year ago, while driving my
heating went off and the heating/cooling indicator just dropped down. I find
when that happens, if I turn off the car and restart it, it gets back to
normal. What can be causing this to happen?- Pauline
A. Pauline—it sounds like air pockets in your cooling system may be
to blame for this occurrence. Your cooling system should probably be pressure
checked and filled properly to eliminate the air pocket.
Q. I have a 2003 Mazda Tribute in pretty good shape-around 60,000
miles. I feel a skipping in the engine that I assume is some sort of belt. I
mostly noticed it at low speeds. I would like an idea of the problem so to be
armed with some info to have a chance not to be taken advantage of when I take
it in. - Lynn
A. Lynn—Bravo for trying to inform yourself before taking your car in to
be serviced! From your description, it sounds like the low speed skipping in
your vehicle could signify a spark plug or ignition wire that is breaking down.
Because your vehicle is at 60,000 miles, I would start with a tune-up and see if
that doesn't remedy the problem.
Q. I was hearing some metallic grinding/whirring noises when I shifted
gears on my '02 Subaru Legacy wagon. I took it to my mechanic, who drove it and
told me my clutch was slipping. He replaced the clutch, but I'm still hearing
some grinding and whirring noises when I shift, or sometimes when I need to be
in a higher gear and haven't shifted yet. As was the case before I had the
clutch replaced, I hear the noises more when the engine is cold, and also more
in lower gears. Before I take it back to him, I wondered if you had any insight
into what could be causing this?—Barbara
A. Barbara—Based on your email, it sounds like there are 2
possibilities here. If the noise occurs when you depress the clutch pedal, then
the noise is probably a throw out bearing. It could also be the front pilot
shaft bearing in the transmission that is causing this, which would require a
disassembly of the transmission for repair. When you go back to your mechanic,
you may want to ask that these items be checked.
Q. I have a 2001 Nissan Maxima. The problem I am experiencing has been
ongoing for about 3 years now. I use my car to deliver newspapers. What happens
is sometimes when I am driving to deliver the papers, the car stalls like it
doesn't want to go. The RPMs idle up really high and the car starts to drive
really slow almost to the point where it doesn't want to go. It only does it
when I am driving slow and with the stop and start in my paper delivery. Of
course, when someone else drives my car it does not mess up. Do you have an
idea of what the problem may be?—Regina.
A. Regina—I completely understand how frustrating it is when your car
only acts up around you. It's almost like it has a mind of its own! Like with
all of our Q&A's, our mechanic wanted to make it clear that because he
hasn't seen the car in person, he can only give you an educated guess at what
the problem might be. It sounds like you might have a sluggish transmission
solenoid. I know that probably sounds scary, but if your transmission hasn't
been serviced with new filters and fluid you should start there and see if that
remedies that stalling. Good luck!
always, I love getting questions from readers. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment space below and I will try and help out as I can.