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SUV Windows, Sunroof Mysteriously Opening on Own

By Junior Damato, September 11th, 2010

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2010 Honda Pilot. Sometimes I notice the windows and sunroof are left open. I thought it was my fault for hitting the remote key fob in my pocket. I asked the service department if this feature could be disconnected and he said no. What should I do? Don

strong>Dear Don: It could be that the control module is getting a stray signal. You are not the first person to complain about this phantom opening operation -- and this is not limited to Honda. The keyless system is incorporated with the security system. The dealer should be able to reprogram the system for you.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 1999 Plymouth Neon. The air conditioner does not hold a charge. I had a lot of parts replaced recently, but still have the same problem. What is your opinion on a/c stop leak? Bob

strong>Dear Bob: Before thinking about a stop leak product, try to find the source of the leak. Have the technician charge the system with an extra dose of dye. Then look for the leak. A common problem on this car is the evaporator in the heater box. As for stop leak, there are many different brands and offer money back guaranties. If the source of the leak is the evaporator and you do not want to spend the money for repairs, then stop leak is your only choice. Since your a/c does not work now, the stop leak cannot make it any worse.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS V-6. My problem is there is a lot of play in the shift handle. How expensive is this type of repair? Peter

strong>Dear Peter: I see a lot of shifters, both floor and column-mounted, that have too much play. The most common problems are worn bushings and linkage mount bolts that loosen. In most cases this is an inexpensive repair. I also see a lot of import vehicles that have stiff shifters due to lack of lubrication, usually at the pivot at the transmission.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2005 Nissan Maxima. My problem is the ignition coils keep burning out. I've taken the car to a couple of shops and they checked all wiring, plus the alternator, but now the car is just sitting in my driveway unable to be driven. Do you have any suggestions? Eric

strong>Dear Eric: Whenever I see a car with electrical parts that burn out, I look for engine ground problems. Many technicians will often overlook this. I would urge your technician to turn to Identifix and/or Alldata for additional support and information.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 1996 Mercury Sable. I replaced the spark plugs and plug wires. Now I notice an occasional jerking feeling while driving. What would cause this? Bill

strong>Dear Bill: Since the problem was not present until after the plug and wire replacement this could very well be related. If you do not have a lab scope, then you should remove all six spark plugs and check the gap first. Look at the spark plug white ceramic body check for cracks that could have occurred when you installed them. I do not recommend the use of platinum or double-platinum tip spark plugs on older vehicles such as your 1996 Mercury. The platinum tip spark plugs tend to foul out easier and do not recover from fouling. The coil pack in this vehicle, like other vehicles, does wear out over time. Make sure all the wires are pressed in all the way. Transmission fluid is also a very important factor. Clean transmission fluid can eliminate jerking when upshifting if this is a problem and should be changed as a maintenance program.

strong>Dear Doctor: I would like your input on the new Porsche Boxster Spyder. Have you driven it yet? Sam

strong>Dear Sam: The 310 horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission are a great match. The clutch pedal pressure is light and the transmission gear ratios are perfect. The design of the Porsche roadster drew a lot of attention every place I parked it. This Boxster is a great improvement of the earlier years. What I suggest if you are considering the purchase of one is opting for the power seat package. Our test model seats were manual and only went fore and aft. The manual convertible top is just that, you actually remove the top and place it in the rear compartment under the rear hatch.

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