strong>Dear Doctor: With Daylight Savings time gone, I am going to work in the dark in the morning and also driving home in the dark. At 50 years old, I have a hard time seeing in the dark. I have seen a lot of ads for replacement headlights for my 2004 Ford Taurus. Would such a thing help me see better at night? Jan
strong>Dear Jan: Before buying a replacement headlight bulb, check the actual headlight capsule for clarity. I have replaced many headlight capsule assemblies over the years and also replaced the bulbs with Sylvania Silver Star bulbs. The difference is night and day. The headlight capsule in an aftermarket brand is 50 percent less in cost than an original. Beware of cheap aftermarket replacements that will discolor in a year. A good aftermarket bulb will have a two-year or longer warranty.
strong>Dear Doctor: I might buy a Toyota RAV4 with a V-6 for some towing. I'd like to get it with front-wheel-drive and put snow tires on the front for winter. Would the front-mounted snow tires cause any problems? If I stay below a 3,500-pound tow limit would that work well for towing with regular tires? Michael
strong>Dear Michael: The Toyota RAV4 V-6 has ample power for lightweight towing; however, you need to check the exact tow rating of the vehicle. As for snow tires on the front only, no, the recommendation is four snow tires. I have to be up front with you; if I were buying a RAV4, I'd go with the all-wheel-drive, not a front-drive. The AWD may have a slightly lower tow rating, but the big picture is a lot better, including not needing snow tires.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 Honda Odyssey. A few months ago, I was unable to open the driver side door with the key. The key works in the hatch, passenger side door and ignition. Last month, my son, who owns a 2003 Honda Civic, mentioned he has the same problem with his car. Is it an issue with 2003 Hondas, or a coincidence that it happened to both of our cars? Joel
strong>Dear Joel: I've seen two key problems with Honda vehicles: door cylinder and ignition key cylinders failures. In my opinion, there is an early failure pattern with the high key security design that Honda used. I believe the fault is a failure of the wafer design in the door cylinder and ignition cylinder.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder 4WD. While cruising at about 40 mph when I take my foot off the accelerator and give it gas, there is a rear-end shimmy. I replaced the rear shocks, as the old ones were rusted and original equipment. There is still a shimmy. Is there a recall for this problem? Dave
strong>Dear Dave: A worn shock would not cause a shimmy. A shimmy or vibration, on and off the gas pedal, is a mechanical problem. The fault could be a worn universal joint in the main drive shaft and/or a worn C/V joint on the front-drive.
strong>Dear Doctor: I'm thinking about buying the GMC Terrain or Chevy Equinox with a V-6 for some towing. I've read that their trannys shift slowly because of fuel maximizing concerns. I would not like that drivability issue. Is it possible to reset the shift limits to make them drive smoother, and is it a big job? Mike
strong>Dear Mike: It is easy and simple to reprogram the transmission shift point and firmness of the transmission. However, before we go any further, make sure there is a button for a "tow/haul mode" on the shift handle. There are several companies that sell a programming tool that simply plugs into the ALDL connector under the driver's side lower dash. The instructions are simple to follow.
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