Auto Doc: Clunky transmission may need an overhaul

A photo of a 2005 Chevrolet Venture taken

A photo of a 2005 Chevrolet Venture taken June 18, 2008. (Credit: WikiMedia Commons)

Dear Doctor: I own a 2005 Chevrolet Venture with 165,000 miles on the odometer. It performs very well with the exception of the transmission that has an intermittent problem. At times it has a slipping "clunk" when starting out. My mechanic checked it with a scan tool and found no trouble codes and the solenoids were working properly. Could this be an electrical problem? I would like to tow a small trailer. -- Larry

Dear Larry: The transmission may need to be overhauled. I would have the technician check the Alldata and Identifix information systems for proper diagnosing and pressure specifications. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I bought a low mileage Nissan 350Z that has a rattle in the right rear. No one has been able to find the cause. When the right rear tire hits a bump it makes this distinct sound, until the car body has warmed and then it's fine. I would appreciate any ideas. -- Bob


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Dear Bob: The first mistake technicians make when looking for suspension noises is using the wrong lift. The car needs to be on a drive-on style lift with the car weight on the suspension and wheels. The technician needs to grab hold of all suspension parts, checking for any movement and inspecting all the rubber bushings. Sway bar links, bushings, upper strut mounts and even body mounts are a source of noise. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2004 Honda Civic Si. I don't drive this car often, but the oil light has been on for a while now. I installed a brand new aftermarket oil pressure gauge in the car and after it was all done the gauge reads between 75-80 psi when warmed up at idle. The oil pressure light is still on at this point and I have no clue what is going on. I changed the oil and the oil filter and still nothing. Any ideas what the problem can be? -- Adam

Dear Adam: The factory oil pressure switch is electric and works off a pressure sender on the engine. When the key is turned on the oil light illuminates and when the engine is started the oil pressure grounds the sensor and puts the light out. I would check all fuses and the oil pressure sensor operation. If the wiring and dash cluster are functioning properly, then the oil light should go on and off. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2011 Ford Flex. I went for an oil change at the local dealer where it was suggested that I have the engine flushed with a new system "The EnviroLution Engine Life-Guard System". It removes sludge that builds up in the engine. It is to dissolve and remove sludge, varnish, tar and other wear. It cost $150. They recommend doing it every year. I have 34,000 miles on the car and I have never done this on any of my other cars in the past. What are your thoughts on this procedure? -- Fred

Dear Fred: There is no reason for any optional or added oil cleaners to the oil. Today's oils are the best yet, especially the synthetic oils. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2014 Honda CR-V and added running boards custom made for the Honda. I am interested in adding a bull bar to the front and a step for the rear. Honda does not manufacturer this and advised me that it would be an aftermarket part. Can you recommend a brand that would fit my Honda and not interfere with the running boards that are already installed? -- Norman

Dear Norman: There are many aftermarket companies that make accessories for vehicles like your Honda. There are also import magazines with companies that advertise these kinds of accessories. I would also suggest a Google search. Make sure you know when to use anti-seize compound on the bolts to prevent rusting if you have to remove them. -- Doctor

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