Auto Doctor: Subaru needs to issue fix for Legacy's slow CVT upshift
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Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5 Premium with the CVT last October. An issue that wasn't present initially, but one that has gotten worse, is the amount of time it takes for the CVT to shift into a higher gear ratio. It takes 10 minutes of driving before the CVT shifts upwards. It holds the engine to around 2,000 rpm on a level road. My dealer told me Subaru knows of the issue, but no fix is offered. Any suggestions? -- Bill
Dear Bill: I just drove a 2013 Forester with the CVT transmission and did not experience the long up-shift -- or at least I did not notice it. One of the main reasons for a delayed up-shift is to allow the warm-up of the engine and catalytic converter for lowered emissions. You will notice as the outside temperature gets warmer the transmission will up-shift sooner. The fix is a computer re-flash when, and if, it becomes available.
Dear Doctor: I have a brand new 2013 Honda Accord with only 4,000 miles. When I make hard left turns I hear a squealing metallic noise. It sounds like a brake wear indicator noise, but of course, my brakes are still new. When I drive straight or make right turns I do not hear the noise, only when I make an aggressive left turn. Could it be a brake pad retaining clip shifting and rubbing against the rotor? -- Ron
Dear Ron: The problem could be either brake pad or backing-plate related. The wheel needs to be removed and both the rotor and backing plate need to be inspected for signs of any contact areas. I see a lot of backing plate interference that happens when hard turning. You can also apply light braking and see if that eliminates the noise.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2001 Chrysler 300M with a squeak in the steering column that occurs when traveling real slow and turning the steering wheel. The dealer replaced the clock spring and put grease in the column, but that did not stop the squeak. They removed the steering column and said the bearing on the end of the column had a small rough place on it. They would not guarantee fixing it would solve the problem, so I did not have it replaced. Have any idea what it may be? -- Jimmy
Dear Jimmy: Something in the steering column is rubbing. The clock spring is an electrical part under the steering wheel with electrical connections that run through to get to the airbag, horn and all steering hub controls, and heated steering wheel if equipped. The lower bearing would cause a grinding -- and if worn enough would cause the steering shaft to drop down, causing contacts in the upper portion to squeak. Ask the dealer where they sprayed the grease in and this is something you can do when the squeak returns if you do not want to spend the money to remove the steering column for repair. The squeaking sound will usually lessen in the warm weather if it is plastic-related.
Dear Doctor: I have an immaculate 2001 Isuzu Vehicross with the 3.5-liter V6. I get a quick chirp-like squeak when starting the truck in the morning. I changed the serpentine belt twice from Gates to a Goodyear Gator Back, which is a much thicker belt. The noise started about two months ago. Any tips to diagnose the problem? -- Albert
Dear Albert: A belt chirp sound is caused from a loose or worn belt, belt alignment, worn or out-of-line pulleys. I use the Goodyear Gator Back belts and have great success. The belt manufacturer recommends to replace the belt tensioner each time a belt is replaced. If everything else looks good, then I would replace the belt with a smaller diameter belt. This will put the tensioner at a different angle and in most cases eliminate the noise. Note: never use any belt dressing on the belt or pulleys.
Dear Doctor: I read your column every week and especially enjoy when you write about the new cars. Have you driven the Cadillac ATS sedan? -- Mel
Dear Mel: I drove the Cadillac ATS V-6 Luxury Collection edition. This is an all-new car from Cadillac with a lot of new electronic features. The ATS replaces the long-running large V-8 front-drive DTS, which I truly miss. The 3.6L delivers plenty of power with 321-hp through the 6-speed automatic transmission. The ATS comes in a variety of configurations; rear- or all-wheel-drive, four-cylinder or V-6 and has a base price of $33,095. The ATS is smooth with plenty of power and you could hear the engine under hard acceleration like any performance car. But I miss the old interior controls and the roar of the old V-8, yet I'm glad to see the rear-wheel drive making a comeback. -- Junior Damato, Motor Matters
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347