strong>Dear Doctor: I dislike the run-flat PAX tires on my Honda. The ride is very bumpy and I've even heard from other people that they wear poorly, repairs are costly and that each tire weighs 100 pounds. If I buy new Honda rims and tires would I get a better ride and mileage? Should I opt for 16-inch or 17-inch rims and tires? Nick
strong>Dear Nick: Great question. I, too, really dislike PAX tires. Yes, you can upgrade to conventional tires and wheels, which is something we do all the time. I would go for the 16-inch to increase ride quality. The 17-inch would be less forgiving over bumps. I recommend you research tirerack.com for the tire and wheel combination. Remember, if your van has a TPS system you will need to buy a set of monitors as well. You will also need a spare tire and rims, plus a jack and lug wrench. You do not necessarily have to buy factory Honda rims.
strong>Dear Doctor: The battery went dead on my 1998 Cadillac Seville. My local shop installed a new battery ($275) that they said is better than the original GM battery. When I got home I tried to lower my driver window but it did not work. I tried the other windows and they were dead. I went back to the mechanic and was told it needed a new computer for the driver's door and because it's a new computer it wouldn't be compatible to the other door computers, and that I would need to do all the doors. What is your opinion? Jim
strong>Dear Jim: When a battery goes dead in some late vehicles, such as your 1998 Cadillac, it can cause multiple electronic problems, including a loss of computer and modules that run the electronics. Both Alldata and Identifix have troubleshooting procedures. The use of a professional scan tool will be needed in order to check the system for fault codes. I find it hard to believe that there is a problem with the other three window motors and/or modules. A broken wire and/or faulty window switch are most likely the problem.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have contacted a class action attorney because my 2005 Prius radio gets lousy reception. Evidently, Toyota knew they had a problem because it has been corrected in later models. I live in a rural area where the residents travel long distances. I believe I have a safety issue should an emergency occur where notification is via the radio. Do you have any information on this subject? Shelley
strong>Dear Shelley: Identifix lists a Technical Service Bulletin on this problem. Apparently, there is a noise filter in the antenna cable that can cause reception issues. The TSB states to replace the antenna cable, as well as the mast if needed. I personally have not seen this problem on the Toyota Prius, although I've heard poor quality AM reception on a variety of vehicles. Some vehicles have better reception than others. Go back to the dealer and ask them to look into the Toyota TSB on your problem radio. This could save you a lot of stress.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2000 Honda Accord V-6 with 76,075 miles. A year ago, when driving for long periods of time, then shutting off the engine for a couple of seconds it wouldn't start and the "check engine" light was on. I went to Auto Zone and changed the EGR valve and cleaned the fuel injector. Now, the same codes are appearing again: PO300, PO301, PO302, PO303, PO304, PO305, PO306, P1399. What should I do? Vibert
strong>Dear Vibert: All these codes indicate an engine misfire. The most common cause on the Accord is a sticking EGR valve. When the EGR does not close fully, it causes a lean condition (too much air), leading to a misfire. Take your car to a qualified technician and have him check it with the proper scan tool to observe the EGR valve operation. I see a lot of these V-6 engines with EGR problems. We remove the intake and clean all the carbon deposits.
strong>Dear Doctor: There is a lot of hype about the quality improvements of the new American cars. Can you comment on any of the new models you've driven? Beverly
strong>Dear Beverly: A car that really surprised me was the 2011 Dodge Charger with the Hemi engine and all-wheel-drive. Gone is the banging over bumps, gone is the cheap interior, and gone is the poor gas mileage. The style fit finish was that of a high priced import. The heated and cooled cupholders were a big hit with my passengers. Gas mileage average was in the 20s, which is unheard of in a Hemi engine. Power was smooth and the exhaust note let you know you're in a performance sedan. Another vehicle I drove was the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. GM spent a lot of time on the front-end design to reduce air turbulence. There are also many engineering upgrades to result in smooth power.
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