Auto Doc: transmission troubles with 2001 Acura

2001 Acura 3.2 CLS-Type - CROP

2001 Acura 3.2 CLS-Type. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Dear Doctor: I have a used 2001 Acura 3.2 CLS-Type. My problems started at 92,000 miles when the transmission failed. I had it repaired for $2,500, however, between 92,000 miles and 104,000 miles the transmission failed six times. I was finally told the transmission had a recall. I contacted the previous owners and they said they never brought it in for the recall. The transmission always fails when it's either hot out or when it has been driven for a long period of time. Can you please help me? -- Michael

Dear Michael: The weak link on Honda and Acura vehicles in the late 1990s to mid 2000s is the automatic transmission. There were some recalls and updates on many of these vehicles and on some the transmission warranty was extended. To properly rebuild the automatic transmission on these vehicles the cost should be in the $3,500 range, not $2,500. When the transmission is removed and opened up, many parts get replaced with new updated factory parts, not aftermarket parts. You should take the car to the Acura dealer for their evaluation. -- Doctor

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Dear Doctor: I own a 2003 Hyundai Sonata V6. When the car is running the alarm will activate itself, until I shut the car off and use the transmitter to turn it off. This even happens when the car is turned off: the alarm will activate. How do I fix this problem? -- Joseph

Dear Joseph: There are many possibilities that can cause alarm problems. In most cases, the use of a factory compatible scan tool is required to find the open or closed alarm switch. I have seen many stand-alone hood switch problems cause false signals. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I'm having a 1973 Porsche 914 restored and have a question regarding fuel requirements. I have read that the 1973 models were engineered to use either leaded or unleaded fuel. Is that correct? What grade would be best suited and should any fuel additives be considered? -- Ken

Dear Ken: Leaded fuel was the original fuel for vehicles that did not have catalytic converters, such as your car. Your 1973 Porsche also has high compression and requires premium fuel. With the old high test gasoline gone, premium unleaded should be used. There are lead and octane additives that would also be a plus. You also have to use the correct engine oil that has the correct additives to prevent engine wear, especially camshaft wear. -- Doctor

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Dear Doctor: TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) is mandatory on cars now. If a tire needs to be replaced, would it be a good idea to replace all the TPMS sensors when the tire is removed? -- Mike

Dear Mike: The TPMS have small watch-like batteries inside them and they are all sealed. The life span on the batteries range from 4 to 7 years. I would not recommend replacing a TPMS until it fails, and if failure is battery-related, then yes, it would be best to replace them all at the same time. This will save you another programming expense when the others fail. Remember some vehicles with full size spare tires also have a TPMS in them as well and when the spare goes low on air it will set the light on the dash. There are now companies that sell universal monitors that in some cases are 50 percent less than the original and are just as good. The majority of replacement sensors need to be programmed to the vehicle using an expensive programming tool. Most good shops, tire stores and all dealers have the proper equipment. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I'm hearing a lot about the new Hyundai Genesis. Have you seen the car yet and what can you tell me about it? -- Steve

Dear Steve: Driving home last week I saw a car in the next lane I did not recognize -- sort of looked like a combination of an Audi and small Bentley. I learned it was the 2015 Genesis. I recently drove it out to dinner with friends. One of the most important things about the car and all the technology is the ease-of-use: No tricks or schooling needed here. Power comes from a 420-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 via an 8-speed dual mode automatic transmission. Big 19-inch tires and alloy wheels fill the wheel wells and the tires are very quiet, even over coarse pavement. -- Doctor

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