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Small Batteries Resulting in Premature Drain

By Junior Damato, May 19th, 2018

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2012 Honda CR-V and the battery dies, especially in the cold, if I don't use it for a few days. My local Honda center tested the charging circuit and found no problems, but the battery test fails. Most of the batteries have been replaced under warranty. But Honda can't seem to give me an answer on what is causing this problem. Any ideas? Bob

Manufacturer photo: 2012 Honda CR-V
Manufacturer photo: 2012 Honda CR-V

strong>Dear Bob: Most Honda vehicles have small 51 series batteries that, in my opinion, are almost too small. We always install a group 24 or 35 battery. If the larger-size battery will not fit, then buy a high cold-cranking-reserve AGM battery. (For proper fit, we disregard the plastic shielding).

strong>Dear Doctor: The transmission in my 2009 Jeep Compass began slipping at about 55,000 miles. The slipping happens around 3,500 to 4,000 rpm when going up hill with me not accelerating. I asked the dealer to do a transmission service and was told the fluid was lifetime and that it would cost $800 just for the fluid. He also told me that I have a lifetime warranty on the drivetrain so use it until it dies. You recently told another reader with a 2009 Jeep Patriot to change the fluid and filter at 40,000 miles. What's the right answer? Additionally, my Compass has three lights on: ABS, traction, and EBS. The dealer checked and thinks it's the brake module. But I would also have to change the pump to at a cost of $800. Any ideas? Eric

strong>Dear Eric: Some auto manufacturers state that some fluids last a long time -- even a lifetime -- but, I would not bet on it. I suggest you have the dealer repair your Jeep for your slipping transmission problem. In the New England area where I'm based we replace a lot of rotted transmission pans. You must always use the correct factory Mopar transmission fluid. Regarding the dealer cost of fluid at $800, I would check with a local repair shop for pricing, as that seems about double what I expect it should cost. Get a second opinion on those dash lights. There are companies that rebuild ABS pump modules.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2011 Toyota Avalon that has a problem with the Navigation System; the volume ranges from off to a whisper, yet the radio and phone volume work properly. We checked the speakers and unplugged the battery to do a NAV system reset. Nothing makes it better. Any suggestions? Jon

strong>Dear Jon: You have two choices. The NAV unit must be removed and sent out to the electronic repair center, or just buy a portable NAV such as a Garman unit. The average minimum bench cost of repair will be around $195. The portable Garman unit is a great unit with clear display and voice. My opinion is to buy a Garman. I personally own two, with a large screen.

strong>Dear Doctor: I'm in the market to purchase a new car. I want your opinion on the 2018 Acura TLX. Is this a good purchase? Tom

strong>Dear Tom: Acura vehicles have always been good products and also have good resale value. The suspension has always been on the sport side, harder ride, wider tires, etc. If you are happy with the car and it has everything you are looking for, then the TLX is the vehicle for you.

strong>Dear Doctor: I'm thinking of buying an electric car for office commuting. What is your opinion of the BMW i3? Alan

strong>Dear Alan: The BMW i3 has amazing electric power with travel range mileage of 75 to 90 miles before the gas engine comes on to power up the electric battery. The small two-cylinder gas engine is very quiet and can extend the travel range an additional 80 miles or so before the 2.3-gallon gas tank needs a fill up. The i3 does take a day or so to get used to driving; especially adapting to the deceleration that occurs when lifting your foot off the gas pedal, the regenerative brake system will actually stop the car instead of coasting like conventional gas-powered vehicles.

Engine Ticking is Normal Sound

08/17

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

08/10

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

08/03

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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