Dear Doctor: My car's battery -- a 2003 Nissan Maxima -- has no symptoms of problems whatsoever, but I'm thinking of getting a new battery because I don't want any future problems. I'd like to change the battery myself. Is this possible? Are there any precautions I need to take? Do I need a backup system? -- Frank
Dear Frank: Your vehicle's computer will probably require power at all times. When changing a battery, make sure the ALDA connector is active; it's located under the driver's side dash, the same place the emission test connector is. The reason for outside battery source is to not lose the vehicle's memory.
Dear Doctor: My 2003 Toyota Echo's climate control system acts oddly on a long trip. It's fine locally. On a long haul, it stops cooling and the air volume even seems to decrease. A small drip of water appears on the passenger side compartment, too. Any ideas? Rich
Dear Rich: You need to have pressure information (both high and low pressure), as well as know how much refrigerant is in the system. The only way to find out how much refrigerant is in the system is to vacuum out the system. The next step is to recharge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant.
Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2014 Subaru Forester with the non-turbo engine and the new CVT transmission, which is definitely different. I notice what feels like a "rocking" sensation or slight hesitation as I accelerate, especially when accelerating slowly, like the transmission is maybe searching for the right gear or position. It's not a problem now, but I'm concerned that it may get worse as time goes by and become a problem. Should this be brought to the dealer's attention? -- Nellie
Dear Nellie: Yes, check with the dealer and have them road-test to make access and document any transmission problems you have right now.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country minivan with 48,000 miles. My problem is the reverse backup lights, along with the backup camera, do not work. I checked the fuse and it was burned out, so I replaced it. After I changed the fuse the backup camera and the reverse backup lights worked for a day. After that I blew two others fuses as soon as I put it in reverse. What's going on? -- John
Dear John: The first step is to look at a wire diagram and see what is on that circuit, besides the back-up lights and camera. The immediate fuse blowing means there is a dead short. You can do the simple things, such as disconnect the back-up light bulbs and/or the wires to the sockets. You can buy a subscription to Alldata.com for one year for about $25. You'll be able to download diagnostic info for this vehicle.
Dear Doctor: I bought KUHMO tires for my 2010 Nissan Murano. They offered 85,000 mile road use and were competitive with price, but I should have been skeptical. The ride is rough and I feel every bump. I'm stuck for 85,000 miles. Any thoughts for a better ride? -- Walt
Dear Walt: I sell a lot of tires and various brands. I have never offered an 85,000-mile warranty tire. For a tire to have an 85,000-mile warranty, the tire would have to be made of indestructible hard rubber. If you are truly not happy with the tires you purchased, then get the tire that will make you happy and give you driving enjoyment. Take a close look at the Michelin brand. It will cost more, but in my opinion it's worth the extra price, especially for SUVs and light trucks.
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail questions to: Motor Matters, PO Box 3305, Wilmington, DE 19804