Dear Doctor: I have a 2001 BMW 328iC with a manual transmission. When accelerating with the clutch pedal completely out, the rpm will race, but the car doesn’t move the way the rpm are racing. Something seems to be slipping. What is your advice? Tommy
Dear Tommy: As long as the clutch hydraulic system is working as designed then all you will need is a clutch replacement. The flywheel should also be inspected for heat cracking.
Dear Doctor: I am leasing a 2009 Honda Civic and drive about 35 miles a day. The front brakes started to make noise at 6,000 miles and needed to be resurfaced with pads replaced. The brakes were checked again at 7,500 miles and I was told there was 20 percent wear. A full brake job was needed again at 10,500 miles. I was told that the brakes are wearing evenly on both sides and that I would have to pay for the service. I am now on my third set of brakes in less than a year. They checked the entire brake system, as well as gas and brake pedal wear to rule out mechanical failure or user cause, and could not find anything wrong. Joseph
Dear Joseph: We first need to check all caliper slides and rubber lines. Then find out when the brake pedal is lightly applied if all the wheels have resistance and that all the brake calipers are applying pressure. The brake calipers should release when the pressure is lifted off the brake pedal. Brake life depends on the style and type of driving with real wear occurring at 15,000 miles and up.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2002 Honda Odyssey. When I change the oil or have a tune-up, the minivan makes an engine knock-knock-knock noise.
It runs great, but I don’t like the noise. What can I do? Fernando
Dear Fernando: It’s not unusual for some engines to have a knock sound after the oil and filter are changed for a few seconds. The noise is from the lack of oil being pumped through the bearings. It takes a few seconds for the oil to fill the oil filter then into the bearings, valve lifters and other oil passageways. On some vehicles the timing chain adjuster relies on oil pressure to keep the timing chain tight. Other vehicles with variable valve timing rely on oil pressure to adjust the valve timing. It is very important to change the oil and filter as factory recommended.
Dear Doctor: I have a 1998 Toyota Camry four-cylinder automatic with 100,000 miles. The car runs great, but recently I have noticed a noise that sounds like someone kicked an empty tin can. The noise is not constant, or even every day. I noticed the noise months ago, before the summer and when I brought it in to the shop they, of course, didn’t hear it. Now that it is getting cold again it seems to have returned. I don’t know if it is weather-related or not. Can you help? Brin
Dear Brin: Noises can come from various areas, not limited to exhaust shields, broken double wall pipes, cracked catalytic converters, loose or worn belt accessory driven items. I have even seen and heard noises from the timing belt and timing belt pulleys. We use a stethoscope whenever possible to locate hard to find noises.
Dear Doctor: I am 78 years old and own a 2004 Chevrolet Impala with 48,000 miles. At my last oil change I asked for synthetic oil and the serviceman said I couldn’t use synthetic oil in my car. Is this true? Irving
Dear Irving: In the old days, the myth was not to switch over to synthetic oil with engines that had over 50,000 miles. Today, we are switching to synthetic oil with any amount of mileage on the odometer. Our family winter car is a 2003 Ford Taurus with 115,000 miles and it just got a full-synthetic oil service. There is also high-mileage synthetic oil on the market you may want to use. So yes, on your next oil change, switch over to full synthetic. — Junior Damato, Motor Matters
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
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Mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347
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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010