Category: Piston Slap

By on October 25, 2016

2008 Ford Fusion Automatic Shifter, Image: Ford

Mike writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I bought my 2008 Ford Fusion V6 AWD about two years ago from a Ford dealer. At the time, it had about 65,000 miles. I’m now at 85,000 miles. I also bought the three-year extended warranty (one year left).

Despite my usual aversion to buying extended warranties, it’s proven to be a sound investment. I’ve had a few things (including an oil leak) fixed for free (minus deductible). The warranty has already paid for itself. The dealer I used for the warranty service (not the purchasing dealer) gave me a few free oil changes and some credit on an account, so I’ve been going there for routine oil changes/tire rotations.

At the last oil change/tire rotation, I noticed they didn’t check the transmission fluid. I asked them to do so. The technician checked the fluid: it was at the correct level, but getting dirty. I asked if I should change it and he mumbled, “If you don’t do it now, don’t ever do it. Transmissions get used to the fluid and replacing it might ruin the transmission.”

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By on October 18, 2016


Chris writes:

I’ve noticed various new-ish cars, ranging from Kias to Lincolns, with a flash-then-steady mode on their center high-mount stop lights. Is this becoming standard? I expect it’s not federally mandated, but I can’t imagine where else it’s coming from.

More importantly, how is it being implemented? I’m thinking about grabbing one from a salvage yard in a few years.

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By on October 12, 2016

2015 Chrysler 200 Steering Wheel Buttons, Image: FCA

Ronald writes:

I have an hour-plus commute with light to moderate traffic that fluctuates between 50 to 70 miles per hour. Adaptive cruse control would be great, but how cheap of a used car can I find with the technology?

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By on October 5, 2016


Chris writes:

I was wondering where to get advice for a free car I’m about to acquire …

The car in question: a 1991 Ford Tempo LX with a four-banger and automatic transmission — not exactly a racer or show car. My dad used it as a work beater for the last 13 years so he didn’t have to drive his garage queen Cadillac. Now that he’s about to retire, he no longer needs it and has decided to give it to me to do with as I please.

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By on September 28, 2016

Sajeev's Mystery Machine, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

Every “How To” automotive series pushes the aftermarket hard for free stuff, even under-the-radar journos like Zach Bowman and Regular Car Reviews find themselves with free/discounted goodies. I’ve done product reviews in TTAC’s past, so this isn’t a Baruthian hit piece on journalistic greed. Heck, Bowman generously donated his pre-sponsorship clutch for TTAC’s Ford Sierra (more on that much later) and Mr. Regular seems like a righteous enough dude.

So instead, think of my work as the alternative to PowerBlock TV. What work is this, you may ask?

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By on September 27, 2016

2009 Honda Civic EX Sedan, Image: American Honda

Yaw A writes:


Second time caller, long time fan. I have a 2009 Civic EX five-speed sedan I bought about 18 months ago and am hoping to drive into dust. I bought it instead of the Si because the EX gets slightly better gas mileage, uses regular gas instead of premium, and isn’t as … extreme?

Yet, naturally, I threw all the EX’s comfort out the window and let my inner ricer take over.

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By on September 20, 2016


Zac writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have a confession to make. I may have lied on my last TrueDelta survey. I reported ‘No Repairs,’ but, while technically true, I have been struggling with a problem for a few months now. My 2011 Ford Taurus SHO has been my long distance cruiser for 99,000 miles now, often times pulling an eight-foot trailer full of bikes and gear to track days all over the Southeast. I installed an Airraid cold air intake, Corsa Cat-Back exhaust, and Stage 3 tune from Livernois Motorsports at 17,000 miles, and the car has run fantastic until about 4,000 miles ago.

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By on September 13, 2016


Luis writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I live in Texas where we’ve had terrible rain and hail storms. My daily driver is a 2004 Acura RSX Type-S with 111,000 miles on the clock. I purchased it second hand last year after driving my last car for ten years. A ’99 Civic coupe (178k miles, which I still own but leave parked). Anyway, the Acura incurred at least $7,000 in hail damage, mostly on the roof, hood and trunk, and minor damage on the sides. My question is: should I keep it? It runs great and has never been modded or in an accident. The insurance will pay off the balance of my loan (about $6,200) and make it even-Steven, or they will pay around $6,000 (which is the value minus the assumed auction price of $1,100) to the bank and I will have to pay the $1,100 balance and be able to keep it. Either way, it will make it a “total loss”. The adjuster said it will not be branded on the title as salvage but will be deemed a total loss that will show up on a Carfax. Making full coverage is not an option. Read More >

By on September 9, 2016


TTAC Commentator Kurt_B writes:

Hi TTAC. I’m a long time reader and member. My four-year-old Mustang hood is peeling. Ford does not cover this issue outside of the three-year comprehensive warranty, and even when repaints are authorized they don’t last. This is a very common issue that has to do with poor paint adhesion to aluminum. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see peeling 2015+ F150s in a few years with their aluminum panels.

For Sajeev: A lot of owners buy aftermarket fiberglass hoods (Cervini, etc). Others have their factory hoods repainted, which may or may not last. One shop I went to suggested vinyl-wrapping the hood — something I really don’t want to do to a four-year-old car. Read More >

By on August 25, 2016


TTAC commentator SavageATL writes:

I have a 1991 Cadillac Brougham, the old rear-wheel-drive model. The car was sitting for a long time, and it has a Chevy 305 with bad valve seals. Lesson: beware of low-low-mileage cars.

It smokes badly on startup after sitting and burns a good bit of oil — about one quart every 250 miles. I’ve driven it as-is for a while, but the day is coming when I’ll need to do something about it.

I was told that the heads would need to be replaced to the tune of about $800. I am thinking for that kind of money I can go ahead and swap out the 305 for an LS. I was quoted about $2,750 for a 5.3-liter junkyard LS swap and $3,750 for a 6.0-liter junkyard LS swap, start to finish.

Read More >

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