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Why Does Engine Buck with Cold Weather?

By Junior Damato, December 7th, 2019

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

Manufacturer photo: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu
Manufacturer photo: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu

strong>Dear Fran: I have found this fault to be with the torque converter solenoid, or torque converter, causing the transmission to stay locked with the engine. It is like having a manual transmission and not stepping on the clutch when coming to a stop. You can have your technician research the problem on either Alldata or Identifix. He should drive the car to verify the symptom and issue.

strong>Dear Doctor: Our 2014 Subaru Crosstrek has less than 25,000 miles, and we too, as previous readers have written, have gone through several batteries. We do all oil changes and scheduled maintenance at the dealer. Can I do anything else to ensure longer battery life? Saul

strong>Dear Saul: Preventing a battery from getting low on its charge is the best way to prolong battery life. Short-distance drives, with all the accessories running, draw battery voltage down and the alternator cannot keep it fully charged. Running the battery water below the plates will also shorten battery life if the battery is the lead acid type. I use a battery tender weekly when my vehicles are not driven for a week or more.

strong>Dear Doctor: Dad's daily driver is a 2011 Hyundai Genesis 4.6L V-8 with only 30,000 miles. Ever since the battery was replaced, the steering is extremely difficult, as if there's no power assist when he makes a right-hand turn over 40 mph, like in the bend of a road or exit ramp. Without warning, the steering will "let loose" and dart because it seems as if the assist pump was suddenly activated or something else kicked in. The problem also seems to be more prevalent when slightly applying the brake. We have drained, flushed, and refilled the steering fluid with the correct Hyundai fluid. The mechanic checked for mechanical binding and linkage issues, but found nothing. We believe the problem is electronic. We have had the BCM scanned, and no codes are present. What could be causing this? Chris

strong>Dear Chris: I would first start with disconnecting the battery for a couple of hours. This will cancel all memory in the electronic systems, including the electric power steering assist system. The technician may have to connect a scan tool to the car while someone else drives the vehicle so the technician can observe the power steering system sensor information.

strong>Dear Doctor: My Audi Q5 has 78,000 miles and has started consuming oil at a rate of 1 quart per 500 miles. I have to carry oil with me in the car. Unbelievable! It happened all of a sudden after my last oil change at the dealer. I talked to them about it and they asked me to pay for a consumption oil test for $220. I think Audi should do a recall. What should I do? Francisco

strong>Dear Francisco: A lot of these vehicles begin consuming oil around 80,000 miles; though some engines do not have this problem. The most common cause is because carbon buildup around the piston rings can allow oil to blow by them. The second problem occurs as the PCV system baffle on the top of the valve cover ages; the round fabric internal baffle gets brittle and cracks and oil is simply sucked into the air intake system. Audi should offer some assistance for this problem. You may want to find another Audi dealership for their help on this.

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

01/18

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

01/11

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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