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How to Soften a `Trucky' Car Ride

By Junior Damato, August 27th, 2016

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2014 Chevrolet Impala. I'm happy with the car, except for the suspension. It's hard, noisy and very "trucky." It came with 235-50-18 tires. Is it worthwhile to replace the rims and tires with 215-60-17? If so, then should I also re-code the speedometer? Some owners have replaced the shocks with very expensive ones with very little results. Joe

Manufacturer photo: 2014 Chevrolet Impala
Manufacturer photo: 2014 Chevrolet Impala

strong>Dear Joe: Check with the local tire shop and see if they have a 60 Series tire with the diameter of a 215-60-18 tire. As long as the overall height is within one-quarter of an inch, then a speedometer re-calibration is not needed. When selecting a replacement tire the lower the speed rating the softer the sidewall, which will result in a softer ride.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix and when driving in heavy rain the car goes into "reduce power" (that is what comes up on the display). I then lose engine power and if I don't pull over in time, the electrical system shuts down. After this happened the first time I took it to a dealer and they replaced the throttle sensor, crankshaft sensor, and a connector that was on a recall to have it sealed. During a recent heavy rain storm the same problem happened again. When I pulled the car over and shut off the engine for five minutes, it restarted and I had full power again. Any suggestions? Scott

strong>Dear Scott: It is difficult to diagnose this issue if there are no fault codes recorded. However, when I get a vehicle in my shop with this kind of issue, I get a water hose and start spraying water from the bottom up with a scan tool connected to the vehicle. This allows me to see which circuit caused the problem.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2013 Honda Accord. In your recent column regarding Honda key fobs and spontaneous window opening issues, I also suffered a similar event. I accidentally pressed on the key fob that was in my pants pocket when I fell asleep on the couch. The next morning I discovered it had rained overnight and the moonroof and windows were opened. Is there a fix for this key fob issue? Art

strong>Dear Art: Indeed, you are not alone with the unintended opening of car windows. I am researching the matter and with have additional advice on this in a future column. At the very least, I would advise to remove the old battery from the key fob and replace it with a fresh battery.

strong>Dear Doctor: I've been giving high school driver education instruction for 14 years and have had over 6,000 students attend my lectures. This summer I got the parents involved with my students and actually had them take a "selfie" of the parts of the car as home work. I decided to have each student label all the parts on their final exam. I'm having trouble getting clear diagrams of the outside of the car, trunk, inside the car and under the hood. Is there a resource you could recommend I obtain this from? Carl

strong>Dear Carl: I recommend starting with Delmar Cengage Learning based in New York (800-354-9706). This is a great company for automobile education material, and I do use them often.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own two classic cars and want to put insurance on them both. Do you know anything about insurance companies that cover classic cars? Love your column! Jay

strong>Dear Jay: I have two customers who have coverage through Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. One customer owns a 1966 Corvette convertible that was damaged in a fire while another customer owns a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass that was involved in an accident. I was very impressed with how Hagerty took care and interest in the owners, as well as an interest in me as the shop owner. Both repair claims were taken care of with no hassle

Why Does Engine Buck with Cold Weather?


Why Does Engine Buck with Cold Weather?

strong>Dear Doctor: We have a 2008 Chevy Malibu that has developed a cold-weather issue. It starts fine, but when the engine is cold and the outside temperatures are below 50 degrees the engine bucks or lurches when slowing for a stop. Sometimes it stalls, and the colder the weather, the worse the problem. Once the engine warms up, the problem goes away. The car seems to run okay otherwise. There are no trouble codes in the onboard computer. Fran

How to Jump-Start: Use a Battery Jump Box


How to Jump-Start: Use a Battery Jump Box

strong>Dear Doctor: I was asked to jump-start a friend's dead/weak battery from my 2015 Subaru Outback, but I said no, fearing it would damage my own battery. But later I read the owners manual and it indicated it would be okay to do so. What are your thoughts on jump-starting a battery from my own vehicle's battery? Jon

What is Proper Tire Pressure for Cold Weather?


What is Proper Tire Pressure for Cold Weather?

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2018 Chevy Cruze equipped with 17-inch aluminum wheels and the Tire Pressure Monitor, which is a great feature. The dealership told me to maintain 35 psi in all four tires, but I have noticed with colder weather now, the tire pressure has dropped off to the low 30s, and not every tire has same reading. Is this to be expected? James

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