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Bucking Under Light Acceleration: Check Torque Converter

By Junior Damato, September 24th, 2016

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2014 Kia Sorento with all-wheel-drive that has an occasional jerking motion when traveling up an incline under light acceleration. Sometimes it feels like the Sorento is having difficulty picking a gear and also feels like it's misfiring. Computer checks show no issues and beyond this issue, the car runs great. What are your thoughts? Harv

Manufacturer photo: 2014 Kia Sorento
Manufacturer photo: 2014 Kia Sorento

strong>Dear Harv: The vehicle should set a "check engine" light when there is bucking or misfiring. The sensation you are feeling could be a the transmission torque converter locking and unlocking under light acceleration. Using a scan tool, the technician can record the event and look at all of the computer inputs, as well as the transmission torque converter and the specific gear when the event occurs. Light acceleration is when most misfires occur.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2008 Chrysler Sebring with the 3.5-liter engine. This engine is running rough and gas mileage has dropped. I changed the spark plugs and PCV. On older cars it was called a carburetor engine. What is the name now? George

strong>Dear George: In the old days a shady tree mechanic or do-it-yourselfer could perform basic car maintenance and replace spark plugs and the like. However, today's naturally aspirated and turbocharged vehicles are computer-controlled and do not have carburetors, or even points. If your vehicle has a misfire, or is running too rich or lean, then the "check engine" light should come on. A good technician will be able to connect a scan tool and look at all of the values from the sensors. There could be lazy sensors that will not set the "check engine" light and also cause poor engine running conditions.

strong>Dear Doctor: I had my 2000 Ram 1500 pickup truck with a manual transmission towed to the transmission shop where they replaced slave/master cylinders due to a gear shifting failure. A few days later I noticed I had no backup lights when shifting into reverse and discovered a blown 10-amp backup light fuse. How do I fix it? Tom

Manufacturer photo: 2014 Kia Sorento

strong>Dear Tom: You need to check all of the connections and wires going to the rear of the truck. There could be a shorted-out bulb where the bulb filament is contacting each other inside the bulb. Also, check the wires in the harness leading into the frame rail and at the tailgate area. A wiggle test of the wire harness is also a good idea.

strong>Dear Doctor: I dropped off my 2012 Chrysler 300 at the dealership to correct a recall problem associated with the transmission electric shift. After the recall work was performed car, I noticed difficulty in turning the steering wheel and found liquid leaking from the electric steering wheel pump. I returned to the dealer and was told I needed a new electric steering wheel pump for $2,000 and they were not responsible for the problem. I decided to go to my local mechanic. He removed the wheel, filled the pump with fluid and did not see any leakage after four hours of road testing it. The mechanic said one issue at the dealership could have been that the steering wheel was turned without the car running, which would thrust the fluid out of the pump. What are your thoughts? Vince

strong>Dear Vince: It is true that on some vehicles if the engine is off and the wheels are turned in either direction, then the steering fluid can backup and spill out from the power steering pump reservoir. I'm surprised the dealer service department would not take the time or the effort to clean off the spilled fluid, and then refill it, and road-test the car.

strong>Dear Doctor: A friend of mine thinks his Toyota Prius is "quick." What is the 0-to-60 mph time, so we can help sort out real time performance? Carl

strong>Dear Carl: The 0-to-60 mph time could range anywhere from 7.5 to 10 seconds, seconds depending on the model year and battery level.

How to Improve Headlight Brightness


How to Improve Headlight Brightness

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2013 Cadillac SRX with 47,000 miles. The headlights are not very bright and that seems to be a safety issue. The Cadillac dealer said this is a known problem with the SRX, but there's no fix. Is there anything I can do? Should Cadillac correct this problem? Thomas

Scan Tool, Fuse Inspection Needed on Failing Headlights


Scan Tool, Fuse Inspection Needed on Failing Headlights

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser has no working headlights. I checked the fuses and replaced the stalk, but still have the same issue. The locks, parking lights, brights, and fog lights all work. What should I do? Mike

Foam in Tires Cuts Road Noise


Foam in Tires Cuts Road Noise

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2019 Volvo with Pirelli tires. I recently got a flat tire and the mechanic took the tire off the wheel to patch the tire and he discovered the inside of the tire lined with foam, to his surprise. He removed the foam in the area of the punctured tire to patch it. Why is foam in the tire? Sarah

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