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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

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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