Category: Piston Slap

By on March 24, 2016

2000-2002 Toyota Tundra, Image: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

TTAC Commentator ScarecrowRepair writes:

I live on a private road that’s 3/4-mile paved and 1/2-mile dirt. Myself and a couple of others on this road park our cars at a wide spot in the paved section and use a high-stepping 4×4 pickup for the short ride between the parking spot and our homes, primarily because the steep dirt road alternates between an inch of dust in the summer and a couple of feet of snow in the winter, with slippery clay mud in between.

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By on March 22, 2016

jaguar-S-Type, Image: Jaguar

John writes:

I recently had a local shop confirm the need for O2 sensors in my Jaguar S-Type. With 97,000 miles on them, it seems very likely they need replacement, and the mechanic wants to install factory sensors at the cost of some $650 for the parts. I can purchase Denso or Bosch from the local parts store for less than $200. As these parts were originally designed to last at least 80,000 miles (Federal warranty requirement), I figure that replacements from any reputable source will last quite a long time.

What is your opinion as to brand specific parts versus more generic replacement parts?

I suspect the original supplier was actually Bosch anyway so in my mind they are the same.

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By on March 17, 2016

2016 Mazda6, Image: Mazda USA

H.E. writes:

Sajeev,

I recently bought a 2016 Mazda6 Touring. The salesman gave me a crazed look when I told him it absolutely had to have a six-speed manual transmission. But the dealer managed to find two manual Mazda6s within about 300 miles, one of which was 45 minutes away and painted in Deep Crystal Blue paint with the black interior I wanted. I’ve put about 400 miles on it and it’s a great looking, smooth shifting car; I’m very happy.

I expect to get flamed because it isn’t brown, diesel or a wagon, to which I respond in my best Sean Connery voice, “Suck it, Trebek!”

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By on March 15, 2016

2013 BMW X1

Anonymous writes:

Hi Sajeev,

As a long-time reader of Piston Slap and TTAC, I never thought I’d be writing for advice. You see, I usually buy new or manufacturer-certified cars with warranties and loaners and all the benefits that the extra money affords. Surely, any problems would be handled lovingly and without hassle by the dealer and maker. Mostly that’s been the case, but not this time …

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By on March 10, 2016

2009 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ, Image: Wikipedia Commons

Long-time TTAC Commentator psarhjinian writes:

I need some communal wisdom.

I have two vehicles: a 2005 Pontiac Montana and a 2005 Toyota Echo.

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By on March 8, 2016

Sajeev's Ford Ranger Aftermarket Exhaust, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

Mike writes:

Sajeev,

Is there some solid information out there about how various mufflers perform and sound? Mine are rusted out and need to be replaced (’96 Chevrolet Suburban 5.7-liter, true dual exhaust with crossover). I’m finding lots of baseless opinions, but little fact. Many forum posts keep referencing someone’s test with a Mustang and fifteen mufflers from 2002. Or some chart showing “flow percentage” but with no reference to who or how this “test” was performed. Perhaps you have some direction?

Also, do you or the B&B have suggestions for quality forums for this Suburban? I’ve not owned much ‘Murican stuff before and am a bit overwhelmed at the quantity of forum options.

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By on March 3, 2016

Front Pedestrian Braking, a new active safety technology available on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Cadillac CT6, is one of many safety features tested at General Motors' new Active Safety Test Area at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Image: Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

Isaac writes:

Recently my family was sitting around the table discussing how my youngest sister will obtain her driving permit in a month to begin the wonderful process of becoming a licensed driver. The interesting part of this conversation, and the part I hope you can offer some advice, is when we talked about safety. Are modern cars too safe for beginner drivers?

While many publications and parents say new drivers should be placed in the safest vehicle possible, I have struggled with this concept and can only wonder how safety equipment in car affects new drivers. Comparing the two vehicles that my parents are considering giving to my youngest sister, my older sister’s 2002 Saturn SC2 or my mom’s old 2008 Ford Taurus X, there is a big difference in the safety between these cars. My sister and I were given cars that lacked ABS, side or curtain airbags, ESP, and traction control. Not having features, like AB, taught my sister to be more attentive in slippery conditions.

While I will not argue against the safety these systems provide, nor their existence, I can only wonder if we are hindering the drivers of tomorrow. I wonder how modern features like blind spot monitoring, radar based cruise control, and backup cameras will affect new drivers. Personally, I like to think I am a better driver today because of the lack of safety features I had in my first couple of cars.

Any thoughts?

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By on March 1, 2016

1998 Toyota Sienna XLE Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

TTAC Commentator MatadorX writes:

Sajeev,

I am hoping you and your readership can give me some guidance as to how far to take a vehicle overhaul: mild insanity or full on broke?

The vehicle in question is a 1998 Toyota Sienna XLE.

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By on February 25, 2016

Trunk Vent on BMW, Image: Unknown

Sebastian writes:

Every time I see a car on the street without its rear bumper, I see these vents under where the bumper is supposed to go. I have an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 1993 that also has these vents inside the rear doors.

What is the function of those vents?

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By on February 23, 2016

2013 Ford Fusion front, Image: Ford Motor Company

TTAC commentator MWebbRambler writes:

Sajeev,

I wrote to you earlier about adding aftermarket LED lights on my wife’s Chevy Traverse. Now I’m back with a question about adding aftermarket tint to my 2013 Ford Fusion (photo above).

The reason I’m considering the tint is because the car sits out in the hot Kansas sun all day. My current employer does not have a parking garage and shade is minimal. I keep the car waxed and use Meguiar’s on the interior to protect the plastics and rubber, but I’m wondering if tinting the windows will help. I’ve looked at a couple of aftermarket companies that offer a “lifetime” guarantee on their work, but I’m still leery of chips or bubbles after several years. I’ve also asked my local dealer about tinting the windows, but they apparently outsource the work to a local shop. I’m tempted to stick with my current approach, which is to use a sunshade for the windshield and apply Meguiar’s once a month.

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