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What day is it? Hump Day Maintenance

A simple phrase gets me hooked quickly.  I like the Geico commercial with the llama walking around the office, "Guess what day it is... it's hump day!" So stupid. So memorable.

But when the image above appears in my Facebook news feed I know what day it is -- and who sent it.

The office staff knows as we push through those uphill challenges by mid week we are over the hump and cruising into the weekend.   It's like that with car maintenance, too.  We have to push through with repairs, even when it's difficult. And when we do we can continue to cruise.

You could recapture customers with "Hump Day Maintenance" Q&As posted on your web site (benefit of fresh content) or send by e-mail.

Maybe your service department can generate its own well-written Q&As, but if not and you need a content provider, I can help with "Ask the Auto Doctor." Our readers respect this column -- and I think your clients will appreciate your proactive stance that no car is perfect.


Here are a few sample Q&A's for your dealership Hump Day Maintenance:

  Dear Doctor: My 2009 Nissan Altima with keyless ignition and dealer-installed remote start has only 18,000 miles and has been acting erratically lately. On two occasions the vehicle would not start, but eventually did after 5 minutes. I also experienced an incident where the car horn was blaring while parked in my driveway. One day I noticed the dashboard and interior lights on and the vehicle cranking on its own -- and key fob was not on me. I have changed both fob batteries three times in the past three months; they keep on draining. My Nissan dealer has been unable to diagnose this. Any advice? Johnny

  Dear Johnny: Any time we get a vehicle with this condition involving a remote starter, we disconnect the remote starter system completely, and then see if there are any changes before starting any diagnoses. There has to be something in the electronic system that causes the problems you are having and it could be remote starter related. If the problem still exists we would then check all Technical Service Bulletins and contact our partners at Identifix technical support.


  Dear Doctor: I have a 2004 Toyota Camry with 69,000 miles. I recently had it serviced for blue smoke coming out the exhaust on the first start of the day. They replaced the PVC valve, however, I still see the smoke each morning. What should I do next? Don

  Dear Don: The blue smoke indicates oil that has entered the cylinders. The most common fault is oil leaking through the valves via seals or guides. You can try switching to high-mileage oil, even though you have less than 70,000 miles. I would not advise spending money on a cylinder head overhaul.


   Dear Doctor: I brought my 2010 Honda Accord to the dealer for inspection, knowing the front brakes needed replacement. I asked for a transmission fluid change, too. The dealer recommended the following: a power steering fluid change because it's getting dirty, throttle body service to remove carbon from the valves, and add a new filter to the transmission. Do you think these recommendations are worth doing? I change the oil every 5,000 to 6,000 with synthetic and want the car to go to 250,000 miles. Andy

  Dear Andy: There's no question these services help in vehicle longevity. Fluid changes, in some cases, are worthwhile when the fluids are dirty and change color, such as the power steering and transmission fluid. Brake fluid is another area of concern. Every time we replace brake pads at my shop we'll suck out the fluid in the master cylinder and replace it. Seldom do we actually bleed out the entire system, unless the fluid is dirty and changed color. Engine coolant needs to be changed every four to five years.


  Dear Doctor: I have a 2004 Cadillac CTS with 80,000 miles. It's using 1 quart of oil at 300 miles. My mechanic checked it, including a compression test. There's no black smoke from the exhaust and he said he couldn't find anything wrong. What do you think? John

  Dear John: That's a lot of oil consumption in 300 miles. Have a technician check the PCV system if equipped and make sure the crank case is not building up pressure. The engine does not necessarily have to have a compression loss to be consuming oil. Leaking valve guides will cause oil to be sucked into the cylinders and burn. There's also the possibility that the cylinder rings could be loaded with carbon and sludge, causing pressure in the crank case and oil consumption. GM sells a top engine cleaner that can be poured into each cylinder, and in some cases, break up the sludge and free up the piston rings. As for smoke out the exhaust, the catalytic converter is helping to burn up the oil, so you will not see it burning.


  Dear Doctor: I own a 2007 Lincoln MKZ. After stopping at a traffic signal and then starting to accelerate, my transmission hesitates for about 2 seconds and then makes a horrible noise. It sounds as though someone hit me in the rear. Also, occasionally, the car does not go into reverse gear. After playing with the shifting, it does engage. What do you think? Rita

  Dear Rita: The first step is to check the fluid level and its condition. Next is a pressure test. A wrong fluid type and/or low fluid level are other possibilities. A qualified transmission technician will be able to find the problem. The transmission technician will also have access to Technical Service Bulletins as well. The sudden engagement sounds like a pressure-related issue.



 When we push through hump day Wednesday we can cruise into "Throwback Thursday."

Contact me at for info on Ask the Auto Doctor

Views: 1251


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