Dear Doctor: I took my 2013 Volvo C70 in for its first scheduled maintenance. Since the car had just 8,500 miles on it, I was surprised when the dealer strongly recommended I allow them to rotate all four tires at a cost of $50. I opted out as this seems unnecessary and expensive to me. Any thoughts? -- Susan
Dear Susan: The first 10,000 miles of tire wear are important. I strongly advise you rotate the tires and also check the air pressure every other month. Tires should be rotated every 10,000 miles.
Dear Doctor: The "check engine" light came on in my 2008 Honda Element with over 100,000 miles on it. We replaced the sensors for less than $170 and the light went off for a very long time. Now the light is back on intermittently, and goes off after 1 to 3 days. Any ideas? -- Patrick
Dear Patrick: The "check engine" light will come on when the computer sees any value out of its monitoring range. There are many sensors in the engine and transmission, not to mention the fuel system. You can buy an inexpensive scan tool from any auto parts store for under $100. Plug it into the ALDL connector under the dash (the same connector the emission testing center does). You can read the code and find the system and area causing the fault code. Be advised: Just because the code reads out does not mean the parts are bad. It could be a blown fuse or wiring problem as well.
Dear Doctor: I have an issue with my 1999 Dodge Durango 2WD with a 5.2L engine. The SUV starts up fine and idles well at first, but after driving about 1/4 mile it starts to hesitate/drag, and if I get to a stop sign or traffic light and sit awhile it starts to run uneven. The parts my mechanic has changed include the Cap and Rotor, Intake Gasket, MAP Sensor, Rear Speed Sensor, Fuel Pump, Injector, Crank Sensor, Cam Sensor, Coil, Coolant Temp Sensor. What should I do next? -- Jim
Dear Jim: I looked on Identifix and found that there have been multiple issues with oxygen sensors and catalytic converters being restricted. You should fine a technician who will run an engine performance test, including fuel pressure and exhaust back-pressure test.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2000 Chevy Blazer with 165,000 miles. The problem is with the driver's side door. It started hanging lower (I have replaced the door pins and bushings many times) and it was striking the door latch, which is attached to the body until that whole piece was almost falling off. I went to a body shop who welded the door latch. Door closed nicely, but four months later I have the problem again. Also, the door panel on the inside is being held together by a bolt the body shop put through the door panel into the door. Should I get a whole new door? -- Gary
Dear Gary: I have no idea why some carmakers weld the door hinges to the body and not bolt them on. You'll need to bring your Blazer to another body shop or dealer body shop for the correct repair.
Dear Doctor: I've always liked the appealing look of the cute little Mazda Miata. Has Mazda done anything new with it? -- Ted
Dear Ted: The Miata has been around for many years and has not grown much in size over the years -- and sorry to say that goes for the engine as well. Much improved are the suspension and electronics. I personally like the retractable hardtop vs. the softtop, as well as the built-in headlights, unlike the pop-up lights of older models. The 6-speed manual transmission has short throws and the gear ratios are close -- meaning little rpm drop between gears. All this little sports car needs is a small turbo bolted on from the factory. With that said there are many aftermarket performance bolt-on performance products, including turbo power. -- Junior Damato, Motor Matters
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