strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty with the 5.3L V-8. The pickup has 150,000 miles and runs great, except for one problem -- I have no air conditioning or heat. I turn the fan switch and nothing happens. I checked all the fuses and relays, even swapped them to make sure. I replaced the blower switch on the dash, and I replaced the resistor and the blower motor as well. Someone mentioned it might be a ground issue. What do you suggest? Mark
strong>Dar Mark: Check if there is power getting to the blower motor. This is a basic test; checking for 12 volts at the blower motor on the high speed setting. If there is power, then check for the ground connection at the blower motor terminal while still connected and at load condition. Whenever possible the affected circuit needs to be tested under real load conditions with a volt meter. Your truck has a history of faulty blower resistors, blower switches and wire harnesses, leading from either switch or resistor.
strong>Dear Doctor: I purchased a used 2010 Toyota RAV4 with the V-6. I'm very happy with it, except for a whine that seems to be speed-related, which I hear at speeds between 20 and 50 mph. The dealer says it's normal. Also, the transmission occasionally will get caught between second and third when slowing, but not coming to a complete stop. When I re-accelerate it hesitates before it engages. Pete
strong>Dear Pete: This is a recurring complaint I hear. Your only recourse is to wait for a computer re-flash at the dealership when it becomes available from Toyota. I have a few customers in your same situation and all live with it.
strong>Dear Doctor: I own a quick lube shop. One of my technicians accidentally broke a customer's windshield. This was a brand new vehicle and the windshield was $800, which I had to cover. Can I legally charge my employee? Doug
strong>Dear Doug: Absolutely not (unless he is a subcontractor and you report his earnings with a 1099 tax form). This accident is just part of a owning a business. Over the years, I have had two technicians have accidents road-testing customers vehicles and had to pay for them. Both technicians are still with me 20 years later -- and so are the customers. Let me ask you: Have you ever made a mistake? If the technician is worth keeping, then get on with business and keep him.
strong>Dear Doctor: I'm in the market for a seven-passenger crossover SUV. I have looked at Highlander, Pilot, Pathfinder and Explorer. My main thing is the that third seat be comfortable. I liked Pathfinder but it's too bulky; Highlander's third seat is uncomfortable and being 6-foot tall my head was hitting the roof. Currently I have 2003 Mazda Tribute, but due to poor experiences I want a different manufacturer's vehicle. Please enlighten me with your recommendations. Fahad
strong>Dear Fahad: There are many three-row SUVs on the market. You mentioned you are 6-foot -- there are no SUVs that will be comfortable for you unless you go to a van. The third-row seating is for the younger people, not adults. The Mazda of old is not the Mazda today. The vehicle selection you make is up to you. With this said, the person who is going to be the main driver needs to test-drive the vehicle of interest on the highway -- even go to the supermarket and see how it does in your own driveway and/or garage. Make sure to assess the rear visibility from all angles.
strong>Dear Doctor: I am in Belgium and busy cleaning up a 1937 Ford sedan. From pictures of similar cars I notice that the gauges and instruments differ from what I have, as mine is rather square. Where can I found more info on this wonderful car? Michel
strong>Dear Michel: To the best of my knowledge the old Fords were made only in the U.S. As so many years have gone by, owners tend to add optional equipment that was not available in the production days. There are many clubs that may be able to offer more information to you on a very personal level on this very special car.
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