Category: Piston Slap

By on July 6, 2016

Volkswagen Interior with ODB2 scanner and iPhone

Dan writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I’m looking for some advice on a reliable, yet affordable OBD-II scanner to look up and clear the check engine light (CEL) on my 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI. While a dedicated Ross-Tech VCDS would be ideal, the price and future ownership of this (or any other VAG) vehicle is not.

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By on June 28, 2016

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Jimmy writes:

Sajeev,

For years I traded in my Hondas and Toyotas within 18 months of purchase. However, I did not care for the newest Highlander, Pilot, and Camry, so I kept the old ones hoping the next versions would be more acceptable. While I have not had a single problem with these vehicles, with the exceptions of a few light bulbs, I’ve noticed Michelin Green X and the Continental ContiProContact have small cracks in the tread grooves. The tires have 40,000 and 55,000 miles on them with lots of tread left. I have asked tire stores and some say don’t worry while others say they are dangerous.

What is the rule for tire replacements when it comes to cracks in the tread grooves?

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By on June 21, 2016

mkc17_models_detailflip_awd

TTAC commentator Fordman_48126 writes:

Sajeev,

I have a 2015 Lincoln MKC powered by the base 2.0-liter turbo and all-wheel drive. My issue is that the AWD system is a part-time setup that defaults to front-wheel drive. Do you know if there a way to convert it via changing and/or modifying the programming on the ECM to run it in all-wheel-drive mode all the time?

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By on June 15, 2016

DaVinci_CVP_illustration

Bob writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I think a survey of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) would be useful. I’ve read that there are two types: sliding belt and variable planetary gearset. Which car brands use each and what does the cognoscenti think of them?

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By on May 26, 2016

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Dan writes:

I was hoping you might do an article on the lost art of exhaust tuning.

I feel like the norm these days in anything sporty is to just make it as loud as possible with an obnoxious rumble and perpetual popping/crackling. I really miss the exhaust sounds of 10-15 years ago that were quite distinct and matched the car; the one that comes to mind (and still sounds great) is that of the original Infiniti G35 coupe/Nissan 350Z. It was refined yet had a nice wail to it when you added enough throttle. Nowadays, I hear a Jaguar F-Type driving past and it sounds like an old beater Mustang with a straight-pipe exhaust, not a $100,000 car.

Have manufacturers gotten lazy, or has this notion of obnoxious exhausts just become the new norm?

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By on May 24, 2016

Brighton, MI Sunoco Ethanol-Free Pump Options, REC 90, Image: 127driver/Wikimedia Commons

David writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Is it worth the extra 40¢/gallon to go for 91 octane ethanol-free gasoline based on its durability merits?

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By on May 19, 2016

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

TTAC commentator claytori writes:

Hello Sajeev,

This email is about my 80-year-old mother-in-law Shirley, who is a sweetie and thinks I can fix anything. I hit the MIL jackpot.

Shirley owns a 2010 Lincoln MKZ 3.5 V6 with about 35,000 miles on it. About a year ago, the battery died on the Lincoln. CAA replaced it with another battery with a 13-month replacement warranty, on which less than 1 week remains.

Two weeks ago, the car wouldn’t start again, so I boosted it from my Saab 9-3, which sits beside the Lincoln in a heated garage. It started right away. As she doesn’t drive it more than about 3 miles at a time, I drove the car for a day to charge up the battery.

The battery was great for two days — then dead again.

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By on May 17, 2016

Honda Stream

TTAC commenter Sjalabais writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I wrote to you once before about choosing a sensible family beater. In the end, I bought a 2002 Honda Stream, which I have since driven 30,000+ km. It’s a very rare car in Norway; only 147 on the road as of this year.

The Honda has been fairly reliable (lots of brake issues), practical enough (try to beat a ’70s Volvo!) and fairly robust. What I like is that it can take a beating when we go to the mountains.

Over the course of the last year, an odd issue has become an annoyance: Sometimes, the car will start, but not hold revs.

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By on May 12, 2016

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Will writes:

Hey Sajeev,

My 2010 Ford Ranger XLT 2.3-liter automatic has been an amazing truck since I bought it new in 2010. Lately, I’ve got a vibration and weird sound coming from the driver’s side when stopped at a red light. It only occurs (or is noticeable) when it’s cold outside.

This sound occurred before and after I replaced the ball joint (driver’s bottom) as I was told by a mechanic at Ford it needed to be replaced.

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By on May 10, 2016

Capture

TTAC commentator Macca writes:

Sajeev,

This is random, but I was wondering if you could look into an automotive curiosity that has bugged me for some time. Internet searches on the subject have not produced any answers so far, unfortunately.

I do not own a Ram truck, nor do I envision ever purchasing one, but I do often find myself sitting in traffic behind one. I’ve noticed that on recent models, the rear bumper has a slight indentation above and to the right of the license plate area. This indentation appears to coincide with what appears to be a drain hole of some sort for the bed, but the two aren’t ever fully aligned.

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