Dear Doctor: I lease a 2012 Dodge Charger R/T. It is equipped with blind spot sensors, park assist sensors and brake assist sensors -- which I cannot stand. Whenever they beep they also shut the radio down and/or my Bluetooth. The sensors are not set for what I think is a reasonable distance so they constantly go off, such as when entering onto the highway where there are cars in my blind spot as I try to merge. Is there a way I can turn off the sound? -- Chris
Dear Chris: I have driven many new Chrysler products and never have experienced this problem. There is no question that the warning system will alert you of vehicles traveling too closely at certain speeds. If the dealer cannot reprogram the system at this time, then you will have to ask if they will shut the systems off completely until they can be reprogrammed.
Dear Doctor: I purchased the 2012 Subaru Impreza. I am mostly happy with the car but I'm wondering if there is a design flaw, as the front bumper is particularly low to the ground and the hood slopes down at an extreme angle, making it impossible to see the front of the car from the driver's perspective. As parking lot curbs often vary in height, I find myself misjudging them when parking and sometimes I'm startled to hear the terrible crunch of the bottom of my front bumper making contact. Is it just me? I knew the car was low to the ground when I bought it with 17-inch tires, but it didn't make much of a difference on a test drive. I also wonder how this will impact driving in snow and unexpected deep puddles. -- Ro
Dear Ro: I would not call it a defect -- it is the design. Take a look at other vehicles and you will see that your car has more ground clearance than others. The lower sitting stance and low sloping hood of the Impreza is all about wind resistance and better gas mileage. On parking too closely to safety curbs you will need to be careful and practice at home in your driveway with a 2x4 or 4x4 piece of wood. I would not suggest the installation of any type of suspension lift kit to raise the vehicle.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 GMC Yukon Denali and the sensor is indicating low coolant on my dash, so I added some coolant to the level of the fill line in the reserve tank. I turned the SUV on the next day and it still says low coolant. What should I do? -- Carlos
Dear Carlos: You can drain out the coolant and clean the sensor, and/or check the resistance with an ohm meter for correct resistance. To find the correct ohm specs, check the Alldata web site. It lists the testing procedure and removal process step-by-step.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2012 Dodge Journey with the four-cylinder and front-wheel-drive set up. I'm considering a chip to upgrade power, such as a "gf chip" upgrade, as I'm seriously disappointed with the four-cylinder performance. The chip claims an increase of 60 horsepower and up to 8 mpg, which sounds too good to be true. What do you know about them? -- Saverio
Dear Saverio: There is available hidden horsepower that can be released with increasing both fuel and ignition timing. To get the most out of a reprogramming chip or download programmer the use of premium gas will usually be required, along with a cold air intake and free flowing low back pressure performance exhaust system. As for adding 8 miles per gallon, I doubt it.
Dear Doctor: After an oil change at 28,500 miles, the dealer service person where I bought my 2011 Buick LaCrosse informed me that at the next oil change it was due for a complete transmission flush. I checked my ownerís manual and there are no schedules for this procedure. In my opinion, it appears premature for this service. What do you think? JM
Dear JM: The answer depends on a lot of factors. At 2 years old and under 40,000 miles, unless you are towing a trailer on weekends or using the car as a work truck, there is no need to change the transmission fluid so soon. If fact, most manufacturers suggest between 60,000- and 90,000-mile intervals and some even longer. I suggest getting another opinion and price quote from another shop that employs an ASE-certified technician.
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
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