Q & A with The Car Doctor
John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years’ experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. He will answer reader’s questions each week You can find the Car Doctor podcast at www.johnfpaul.podbean.com or other popular podcast sites. Email your car questions to [email protected] Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on facebook mrjohnfpaul
Q. I am wondering if you might know the fix to hood vibr ation up by the windshield. I hear it, feel it and see it when I drive on the highway at 75 miles per hour. I’m adjusting the hood bumpers to see if that fixes the problem but so far, if that’s the fix, it isn’t working. Any suggestions?
A. I would start by making sure you have cured any vibrations in the car first. The visual shake in the hood could be a result of an out of balance tire, damaged wheel or even driveline related. My first step would be to check and rebalance the four tires.
Q. I have a 2006 Hyundai Azera and it has been sitting outside in the driveway for almost a year. I had to boost the battery once but didn’t drive it. Now I can’t drive it because the battery is dead again. Do I need a new battery?
A. Realistically after the jump start the battery should have been charged on a battery charger. Depending on the battery condition and the battery charger, this could take 6 to 24 hours. More than likely after all this time the battery needs replacement. In addition, the gasoline could have become stale and may cause some drivability issues with the car. Even the brakes could have become rusted after sitting unused for a year. At this point the best thing to do would be to have the car towed to a repair shop so the entire car can be evaluated to insure it is safe.
Q. I have a 2018 Buick Encore and a so called “Bumper to Bumper Warranty”. I purchased the vehicle used on Dec 10, 2021, from a car dealer with a 90-day Bumper to Bumper Warranty. On or about the 70th day of ownership, and less than 550 miles since purchased, I noticed that the passenger side front bumper was disengaging from the vehicle where the bumper and headlight area merge. I pushed it in, but it soon popped out again. I called the dealer about the problem, and they set me up with an appointment, Feb 24, 2022, with their service department. They viewed the area were the bumper popped and advised they would get back to me about a solution. 15 days later they called and advised that the estimate to fix would cost over $535.00 and could be more, all of which would be my responsibility to pay. Oddly, the Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty does not cover bumpers. I searched the internet to see if Buick had any service bulletins on this problem but could not find any as the body shop manager at the dealership indicated it was not a rare problem. Do I have any recourse?
A. The used car Bumper to Bumper warranty typically covers mechanical issues and not body repairs. Buick did issue a technical service bulletin that describes this problem and a repair solution. There was a technical service bulletin issued, but not a recall or warranty extension, so at this point you would be responsible for the repair. That being said, if you purchased the car from a Buick dealer and there shows no previous body repairs, it is worth suggesting that Buick, the dealer and you split the coast of the repair.
Q. From day one the “auto on high beam” feature on my 2019 Acura MDX has worked maybe once that I recall. Whenever I bring the car in for service, I mention it to the dealer, and they tell me “nothing is wrong and we’ve adjusted the sensitivity.” I have a friend who owns the same car and tells me he has no issues and has had rentals with this feature, and it works w/o issue. I’ve looked for chat rooms/service bulletins but haven’t found any on this problem. Any suggestions? Also, I’m having issues with “auto engine idle.” Last time in for service they “rebooted” the module which has helped but this still is very intermittent. Other than this the Acura is a good vehicle.
A. The system may be operating normally. The auto high beam issue has certain criteria for it to work properly. Some of these include white and red-light sources are not detected ahead, two or more streetlights have not been detected, vehicle speed is above 35 mph. In addition, weather, road conditions and windshield wiper settings may affect system operation. The Idle stop feature also has certain criteria for proper operation. Some of these include electrical load on the engine (climate control, seat heaters, towing a trailer as some examples). The system also relies on a fully charged battery. If much of your driving is short distances, the battery may not be fully charged, and the system keeps the engine running to help with electrical demand.