Auto Doctor: Car's blue smoke usually indicates oil leak

When cars, including the 2004 Toyota Camry, emit

When cars, including the 2004 Toyota Camry, emit a blue smoke, it's usually because of an oil leak, according to the auto doctor. (Credit: Toyota)

Dear Doctor: I have a 2004 Toyota Camry with 69,000 miles. I recently had it serviced for blue smoke coming out the exhaust on the first start of the day. They replaced the PVC valve, however, I still see the smoke each morning. What should I do next? -- Don

Dear Don: The blue smoke indicates oil that has entered the cylinders. The most common fault is oil leaking through the valves via seals or guides. You can try switching to high-mileage oil, even though you have less than 70,000 miles. I would not advise spending money on a cylinder head overhaul.

Dear Doctor: I'd like your input on the 2010 Toyota Corolla XRS with the 2.4L engine. I know that when new these cars were hard to find at dealerships. My son wants to get one, but most of them are out of state and still holding a high price used. Is there anything we should look for on these cars? We found one in Pennsylvania with 17,000 miles on it. He wants the 5-speed automatic -- is this a good tranny? -- Patrick


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Dear Patrick: Prices usually reflect supply-and-demand on just about everything, and this includes vehicles. If this is the car he wants, then he will have to the pay the market price. I have a couple of customers with this car, manual-transmission-equipped. I have replaced clutches on these cars and the transmissions do have a good track record.

Dear Doctor: My 2004 Chrysler Town & Country Platinum Series often stalls after a fuel fill-up. After filling it up, I start the engine, let it run a few minutes, turn it off and repeat before driving away. Sometimes this works other times it has stalled when driving. My dealer has flushed the fuel lines several times to no avail. It has been suggested it might be "vapor lock." What else can I do? -- Beverly

Dear Beverly: There is no question that when the tank is full unwanted gas is getting to the engine via the evaporative emission system. The technician needs to check all parts involved with the system. He will find the specifications needed on both Alldata and Identifix.

Dear Doctor: I've had several problems on my 2005 Lexus RX 330: 1.) The transmission does not shift smoothly at 40 mph and under; 2.) It feels as though there is something holding the car back; 3.) The transmission has been changed twice, but I still have the shift problem. Any suggestions? -- Ron

Dear Ron: Without actually feeling the shift complaint it's hard for me to suggest a fix. I recommend you go to a good local -- not a big franchise -- transmission shop and get their opinion on your complaint.

Dear Doctor: I'm a retired woman looking for a new car that I can keep for 10 years. I like the Kia Sorento and the Subaru Forester. What's your take on it? My main concerns are safety, mileage, warranty, and service. I have a 2002 Nissan Maxima with only 84,000 miles in very good condition. What should I expect to be offered? -- Elaine

Dear Elaine: I really like the Subaru Forester. I spent a week in the new Forester lineup -- in both the turbo and non-turbo versions -- and was very impressed. This SUV with all-wheel-drive has grown up in a very nice way. There is plenty of head room and it was easy to get in and out of during my time with it. I would not do a trade-in on your Maxima -- it's too old for most dealers to put on the lot and retail it. You would do best to sell the Nissan privately. Any cash price of $2,500 or more is good.

Dear Doctor: When starting my 2003 Chevy TrailBlazer I realized I had left on the fan control and it would not shut off -- even when I shut off the engine. My repairman replaced the blower motor resistor and recommended to change the blower motor as well. What should I do if the blower won't go off and I can't get to a repairman? Will my battery go dead? -- George

Dear George: Your vehicle, if equipped with the automatic fan control, has a faulty blower control module. The module has power when the ignition key is turned in the off position. When it fails the blower motor will get power and this will kill the battery.  -- Junior Damato, Motor Matters

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. Email questions to info@motormatters.biz. Mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347

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