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Auto Doc: 2005 Dodge Neon's squeaky clutch

The 2005 Dodge Neon.

The 2005 Dodge Neon. Credit: WikiMedia Commons/IFCAR

Motor Matters - Dear Doctor: I have a 2005 Dodge Neon SRT-4 with a 5-speed manual transmission. When the clutch engages at a certain point, it makes a squeak. It's an aftermarket clutch. Otherwise the car runs and shifts well. What do you think is making this sound and what can I do to stop it? -- Alex

Dear Alex: You need to step on the clutch with the engine off and see if the squeak is present. If the squeak is present, then the squeak is from the release bearing moving fore and aft on the input shaft. If the squeak only happens with the engine running, then the problem is more likely to be an internal release problem. Another possibility is the input shaft may be worn, causing release bearing movement and the squeak. If it is possible to access the release bearing through an opening, then try spraying any kind of spray lubricant on the input shaft to see if that makes any difference. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 1997 Lincoln Continental. After I start the car, the computer says that my washer fluid is low. I fill it up, but it still says it is low. There is no leak because it stays full and the pump works. What could be the problem and how do we fix it? -- Vincent

Dear Vincent: Most washer tanks have an electric switch in them that will set the light on when the fluid is low. It is a simple switch that either grounds or ungrounds the switch, turning the light on or off. You can simply unplug the switch and see if the light goes out or jump the switch wires and see if the light goes out. This is the way I would test it. If this works, then you can replace the switch or just leave it unplugged. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: What would cause a burned valve in a 2011 Chevy Camaro? The car has the V-8 LS3 engine. -- Nick

Dear Nick: There are many possibilities that can cause a burned valve, among them lean engine condition, poor quality gasoline, weak valve spring, poor injector spray pattern, worn valve guides, poor oil quality, and engine hot spots in the cylinder. A close look at all of the valves in the cylinder head should tell the story, especially the color of the valve. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2006 Toyota Camry and all of a sudden the two key fobs no longer function. I replaced the battery in one of the fobs but it still does not work. Do you have any suggestions for repairing this malfunction at a reasonable cost? -- Jack

Dear Jack: The technician will need to follow a trouble flow path in any repair. As I have said many times, technician must understand the system they are working on. If they are unfamiliar with the system, then using support from other technicians at Identifix and ALLDATA is highly recommended. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I have a 2001 Mazda MPV van with 152,000 miles. The "check engine" light came on and the shop had a hard time finding the problem, but fixed the number 2 oxidation sensor and the light went out. The light came back on and this time the reading was all over the place, so the repair shop gave me a tune-up and changed the catalytic converter. Again the light went out for about three weeks. It came back on again and it's been on ever since. I have spend over $2,400 to "fix" this problem. Do you have any suggestion as to what the problem could be? -- John

Dear John: You have a very expensive van to repair, with emission-related problems. The technician needs to check for trouble-fault codes and then look for the reasons for the fault codes. I see these vehicles frequently with emission problems, especially catalytic converter, misfires and lean conditions, and a few Evaporative Emission Control System leak codes. You should find an Automotive Service Excellence technician who uses both ALLDATA and Identifix to solve the problems. -- Doctor

Dear Doctor: I'm interested in the 2014 Mazda3 Grand Touring model. Have you driven it and what are your impressions? -- Chad

Dear Chad: Mazda has a loyal customer base and it continues to grow every year. I drove the Mazda3 with the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 155 horsepower and 6-speed manual transmission. The 155-hp does not seem like a lot, but the power is ample due in part to the excellent transmission gear ratio and low-end engine torque. The engine is smooth and quiet and the clutch is easy to depress -- no leg cramps here. The Grand Touring model drives and handles like a sports car should, yet is forgiving over bumpy roads. Sixteen-inch tires are mounted on bright alloy wheels and bright dual exhaust outlets dress the exterior. -- Doctor

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