strong>Dear Doctor: I own a six-cylinder 2006 Mustang convertible with an automatic transmission. Recently, I found the front and rear carpet on the passenger side to be very wet. I dried it up and it seemed to be all right for a couple of weeks, but the problem has resurfaced. The area under the dashboard and on the side of THE console are dry. Any ideas on this? Andy
strong>Dear Andy: The first step is to lift the carpet up by removing the door sills and making sure the insulation under the rug is dry. I use a piece of 2x4-inch wood to keep the rug off the floor when checking for a leak and drying out the insulation. I would also remove the front seat -- a very easy task. I would look at the air conditioning drain to make sure it is not plugged up. Look at the front section of the rug below the glove box to see if it has signs of water. You should start the car and turn on the air conditioning to make sure the air conditioning drain hose has condensation coming out of it. Plugged-up heater box drains are a common problem. If water is draining with the air conditioning on, then have someone run a hose over the roof while you are in the car and look for water leaking in.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 Elantra with 42,000 original miles. I want to replace the shocks and have been told different things by different people. Some techs tell me that I must also replace the struts and I have gotten estimates of many hundreds of dollars for this. Can I have only the shocks replaced? The car drives good, only the ride is not good, with too much bounce. Cecile
strong>Dear Cecile: In the old days we had cars with shock absorbers. Most of today's cars have struts (a shock with a coil spring and upper mount). Some of the cars do have the old-style rear shocks that are an easy replacement at a cost of $39 to $60, plus installation, usually an hour for both. Front struts are more expensive and labor intensive. I try to use what is called a quick strut, which is a complete strut with a new coil spring and upper mount. The installation is easier and the cost difference is minor. If the only problem is the rear, then just replace the rear, there's no need to replace the front. Get a couple of different price quotes.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2010 Toyota RAV4 with 95,000 miles. When it starts up it has a funny noise, but once the oil gets up into the engine it's gone and lasts only two or three seconds. Is there anything I can add to the oil to coat the engine walls? I change the oil every 5,000 miles, give or take. Frank
strong>Dear Frank: I hear this question often and the engine noise you describe most often comes from the timing chain -- from the tensioner backing off pressure slightly. I do not advise adding oil additives to the engine. You can try switching over to full-synthetic oil, which can make a difference in some cases. I personally would not let the mileage go past 4,000 miles with the regular oil and 6,000 miles with full synthetic. Car owners do not yet understand the importance of correct oil and oil changes in today's modern engines with all the internal timing valves and solenoids.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2013 Hyundai Genesis that I recently bought in May as a dealer leftover. The Bluetooth keeps disconnecting from my Samsung Galaxy phone. The message says that the "phone disconnected." I called my provider and also Samsung and both said there were no updates and I should contact the manufacturer. Should I go to the dealer or try to find the company that makes the Bluetooth? Charlie
strong>Dear Charlie: In-car technology keeps changing. The first thing I would do is try another phone. Borrow one from a friend or family member to see if it is the car or phone. I had a problem with my phone connecting to my car and went to the cell store and they made the pair mating for me.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2014 Honda CR-V with less than 6,000 miles. Since the beginning, the tire pressure warning light has come on five times. The dealer advised that there was a computer upgrade to address the issue and I brought the car in. Before driving away from the dealership, I checked the pressure in my tires and they were set at about 38 psi (pounds per square inch), 8 psi above both the sticker on the door panel and the owner's manual. When I asked about this, they told me it was OK and would not affect my mileage or tire wear, and anything too close to the 30 psi would set the light off. This does not sound right. What is your opinion? Alan
strong>Dear Alan: Tire pressure monitors send a radio signal to the body control computer to alert the driver what the tire pressure is on some vehicles, while on others it may trigger a light indicator. The dealer technician can use the Honda factory scan tool to read the air pressure being sent to the computer. With some manufacturers the computer can be reset to a lower or higher pressure to set the indicator light off or on. Often overlooked is whether the spare tire is equipped with a monitor. The additional 8 pounds of air pressure may give you a harder ride. You should also check tire wear since the increased air pressure may cause the center of the tire to wear faster. Look at the outside tire wall for maximum tire pressure. I can tell you that most of my customers are running 35 to 38 pounds of air pressure. I would rather have the additional air pressure vs. the lower pressure recommended on the door jamb placard -- and this is a practice I do on all of my own vehicles.
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