Q: I loaned my car jack to someone and it got crushed. I need a new one.
I have a 2005 Honda CR-V and I was looking at a small garage-style jack instead of the standard jack. Any recommendations for a jack for a car like mine?
A: The standard jack that came with your car is the best choice for occasional use to change a flat tire. Certainly a proper garage jack is faster, better and safer but even the compact jacks are heavy and take up a fair amount of room.
If this were my car, I would get another factory jack (salvage yard or eBay) and get a good quality two-ton garage jack for weekend servicing of your car. Even with a quality jack, always use jack-stands when working under a vehicle.
Q: I own a 1995 Buick Roadmaster with almost 85,000 miles on it. Previously, I had a 1992 Buick and both cars have had the same problem with the anti-lock brakes.
On the 1992 model, the warning light would come on after about five miles of travel. When that happened I generally would stop the car and restart it and it would be fine for a while.
I replaced the 1992 Buick with a 1995 model and the ABS light comes on but restarting the car didn’t cure the problem.
Since I retired, I only drive about 4,000 miles per year, but would like to get the car repaired.
Two garages have looked at the car and both told me that it will cost over $1,000 to repair and it isn’t worth it.
Do you know the cause of this problem and how much it would cost to repair?
Being retired I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money for repairs that may last for only a short time. Any thoughts?
A: A very common problem is the wiring to the front wheel sensors will deteriorate and break over time. When the ABS light turns on the anti-lock brake system will not actuate, but rather the brakes will function as conventional brakes. The brakes will stop and are safe, but like cars before ABS the wheels can lock up and skid. Generally the repair is to replace the wheel sensor, which can take about an hour and the part is $120. Before any of this work is performed, a full diagnostic check should be performed to verify the exact problem.
Q: My car has a coolant leak somewhere but it’s not a noticeable leak. What does that mean and what should I do?
A: A repair shop will look for obvious leaks. If none are found they would pressurize the cooling system and look for a drop in pressure. If no coolant leaks are noted then the next possibility is a faulty cylinder-head gasket.
Q: I have a 2009 Volkswagen Routan. I’m right at the 101,000 miles where it’s recommended for a preventative-maintenance visit that will cost about $600-$700. Based on this, should I have the work performed or start thinking about a new car? I really like my VW Routan. I’ve had some problems with it (especially early on), and have spent a bit on repairs. I wonder if I should stay with it or cut ties and start looking for something else. One big plus is that it’s already paid off and I would really rather not buy another used car and have monthly payments.
I’m confused and not really sure what to do. One other thing, the check engine light comes on but the repair shops can’t find anything wrong. How will I know when it’s the real deal and something is indeed wrong with the car?
A: The Volkswagen Routan is essentially a Chrysler Town and Country rebadged by Volkswagen and should be reasonably straightforward to keep running for a long time. That being said, these vehicles have their weaknesses. The $700 for maintenance costs is probably the equivalent of three car payments, so if the vehicle is in good shape it would make financial sense to repair it.
The check engine light could be caused by several items. At this point I would have a competent repair shop fully check the car over and also look to see if the computer is up to date. There have been at least a couple of software updates to cure intermittent codes.
If you decide to keep the car, once it is up to date, there still will be repairs on a 9-year-old car. Some repairs will be minor and others could be more expensive. One major area that can be a problem is the transmission. Based on repair history it would make sense to tuck a little money away each month in a repair fund. That way if something comes up you will be financially ready.
— John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has over 30 years of experience in the automobile industry and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul The Car Doctor at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email Media and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Saturday mornings at 8:30, tune into John Paul The Car Doctor at Media Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.
Ten Unconventional Knowledge About John Paul Buick That You Can’t Learn From Books | john paul buick – john paul buick
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