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Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention

By Junior Damato, October 12th, 2019

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2006 Ram 2500. The mileage calculator says I'm getting 30 miles per gallon in fuel economy, but I'm actually getting about 20 mpg. What should I do? Mark

Manufacturer photo: 2006 Ram 2500
Manufacturer photo: 2006 Ram 2500

strong>Dear Mark: The gas mileage indicated on the dash cluster may differ on various vehicles -- some more than others. Your vehicle's computer gets the information from the fuel level sensor and then calculates it by the mileage traveled. I recommend you get a new fuel sending unit, or get the fuel system recalibrated at the dealership with a factory scan tool.

strong>Dear Doctor: We live part of the year in south Florida and have air conditioning issues on our 2008 Jeep Liberty. One year ago the dealer installed a new compressor for $1,500. The a/c stopped working recently and the dealer said the evaporator was bad and the replacement would cost $2,100. I have read reports that owning an older car in hot climates where rubber connections can become dried out from the heat can cause slow leakage of refrigerant. What should we do about this issue? Dana

strong>Dear Dana: The worst thing for a vehicle is to sit undriven for long time periods. Whenever possible I suggest you drive it for at least 30 minutes on a freeway to get the engine up to operating temperature. Your Jeep is known to have faulty evaporator cores and leaking condensers. You can have any auto shop charge the system, as well as add stop leak to the system. Even if you have to charge it twice during the season you'd still be saving a lot of money.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2002 Toyota Avalon with 160,000 miles. Since being rear-ended in 2012 I occasionally get a check engine light, which turns off the VSC system. The check engine light always shows the same codes: P0446, P0440, PO441 and P0446. My mechanic has checked the EVAP system and thinks it may be the canister/filter located in front of the gas tank. I can reset the light and it may not come back for six months. I just replaced the gas cap in hopes that is the solution, but I'm concerned since the accident it may be a hose in the canister that got damaged. I would appreciate your input. Alan

strong>Dear Alan: Your codes are all consistent with a canister assembly failure. There are also two other related valves under the hood. There are aftermarket canisters that come with needed switches and valves already mounted on the canister available at many auto part stores. A technician will be able to check the system with a smoke machine and scan tool as well.

strong>Dear Doctor: My wife is interested in the new Toyota RAV4. I was impressed when I test drove a 2019 XLE trim, but was taken aback by the engine/cabin noise. Has Toyota done anything to improve the 2020 and how much quieter would the Hybrid model be? The dealer did not have a hybrid to test drive. Steve

strong>Dear Steve: The tire size on the XLE has a smaller sidewall and can generate a harder ride as well as more road noise. The Hybrid gas engine has less horsepower and different tires. Interior noise will vary by the amount the gas pedal is depressed. I recently spent a week in a 2019 RAV4 and found it to be quiet. I think the new eight-speed transmission is a perfect fit. I suggest you test-drive a few other RAV4 models.

strong>Dear Doctor: The electric vehicle market continues to grow and I'm wondering what you think of the Kia Nero? Jan

strong>Dear Jan: Electric vehicles have come a long way and I have grown to respect the performance in many of these cars. I drove the Nero for one week and found it to be practical, fun, and quiet, with more power than I could have imagined. The power is instant; I turned off the traction control and put the accelerator to the floor. Both front tires started spinning

How to Improve Headlight Brightness

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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

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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

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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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