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Car Clunking Can be Normal

By Junior Damato, March 1st, 2014

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2010 Mercury Mountaineer with 28,000 miles. When I am at highway speeds and take my foot off the gas, there is a "clunk" noise that sounds similar to the universal joint failure in the old rear wheel drive cars. The problem is most notable at highway speeds, but can be heard at lower speeds during deceleration as well as acceleration. Sam

Manufacturer photo: 2010 Mercury Mountaineer
Manufacturer photo: 2010 Mercury Mountaineer

strong>Dear Sam: Your Mountaineer has an all-wheel-drive system so any wear or worn universal or C/V joints will cause a clunk sound. Even some extra free play in the front or rear differentials will cause a clunk sound on and off the gas pedal. A small amount of noise is considered normal.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have replaced motor mounts about every 23,000 miles on my Mazda3. It now has 94,000 miles. Is there a defect in the car? Jan

strong>Dear Jan: I also replace engine mounts and have tried the aftermarket engine mounts; these do not last long, especially on vehicles with manual transmissions. I would check all engine mounts for movement. If you replace one or two mounts and the others have movement, then the replacement mounts will fail early.

strong>Dear Doctor: Last summer I bought a black 2013 Honda Accord V-6. After the second week I found a chip on the hood. Now this winter I have found six chips on the hood. It's kept in the garage and only driven when roads are dry and clean. Have you heard of Honda having "soft paint" issues? Bob

strong>Dear Bob: Hood chips are common, as are small chips in windshields. The hood slope invites small rock damage with the low profile design. You are not alone with this problem of chipping paint on hood surfaces. I would as the dealer to set up a meeting with the Honda zone representative to look at the hood. There is touch-up paint you can get from Honda and dab the spots. It does not take much to cause a chip in the hood or windshield.

strong>Dear Doctor: I recently purchased a 2014 Mercedes Benz C300 sedan. Occasionally, when the engine is fully warmed up the transmission shifts roughly at low speeds -- usually when downshifting after pressing the accelerator or braking. It seems to jerk/buck in the lower gears almost like being lightly rear ended. It shifts fine at higher speeds. Any idea what might be going on? Eric

strong>Dear Eric: Check with the dealer about any updates that available. The transmission is electronically controlled. The reason it seems to act up when the engine is warm is because in a cold engine state all engine and transmission functions are controlled from pre-set computer settings in closed loop.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2008 Chrysler Sebring convertible. The battery has been replaced three times. The dealer has performed diagnostic testing, but found no drain. Why are the batteries going bad? Gloria

strong>Dear Gloria: You did not mention how long or often you drive the car. Fuel-injected vehicles have multiple computers that require constant battery voltage, even when the vehicle is parked and locked. The vehicle will need to be checked for current (parasitic) drain. The maximum parasitic drain is 50 mili amps on this car. At the maximum drain it will take six to eight weeks to run the battery down. You should invest in a small battery maintainer. There are many battery options on every vehicle, especially the battery cold cranking rating also known as reserve power. I always suggest a battery replacement with the largest cold cranking power available. The new AGM advanced technology has much more available power and is worth the extra cost.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2002 Mazda Millenia with 75,000 miles. The "check engine" show codes p0750, p0755, p0760 and p071743. It also has a bad connection with clip on top of transmission. Can you help? Roy

strong>Dear Roy: You will need to see a technician who will connect a professional scan tool and check it under the vehicle specific mode. This takes time and will result in a complete accurate code test. Road testing the vehicle with the scan tool connected is also recommended. It could be a poor ground connection or faulty solenoid.

Engine Ticking is Normal Sound


Engine Ticking is Normal Sound

strong>Dear Doctor: My wife has a 2017 Toyota Highlander that she loves, except for a loud ticking noise from the engine compartment when in gear. The car has 12,000 miles. The noise has been there since day one. On one visit to the dealer, two tech reps from Toyota listened and said "it is a characteristic of the model," but to us it sounds like a cement mixer. That's not normal! As a former service manager I can honestly say I have never heard a car that didn't have a serious engine problem make noise like this. Do you know anything about this? James

Transmission Fluid: Change It, Don't Flush It


Transmission Fluid: Change It, Don't Flush It

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2008 BMW 328i with 60,000 miles. I'm the original owner and have never had any transmission problems. Should I ever consider changing the transmission fluid? I plan to keep the car indefinitely. James

Sunshine Makes Console Flat Screen Hard to See


Sunshine Makes Console Flat Screen Hard to See

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2012 Camry. When the sun is bright, the radio/navigation screen is impossible to read until I get in shadier spot. It seems the flat screen should be indented into a cabinet or it should have protruding sides to help block light. What can I do? The auto body shop said they often see this problem but there's nothing they can recommend. I haven't seen my radio stations or navigation on a sunny day since I bought this car new. Can you help me? Jean

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