Auto Doc: Headlight failure, check engine light and improved braking

dear doctor: i have a 2005 mazda3 hatchback. i have had issues with low beam headlight bulbs burning out prematurely. every year i have to replace both low beam bulbs. i have tried every type of replacement bulb, but it continues to happen, especially during the winter. are the original bulbs better then the replacements?

dear danny: on any vehicle
who has a problem with headlight failure a few things need to be checked. first, check the alternator output, as an overcharging alternator will cause premature headlight burn out. second, the connection at the headlight bulb must be clean and tight. third, look for any signs of moisture in the headlight capsule. i use sylvania silver star headlight bulbs.

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dear doctor: my 2011 range rover has a consistent problem with the “check engine” light going on. the service department has found no issues. i am concerned because this happens a lot and do not want to be driving along a highway and the engine to fail. have you come across this issue? 

dear daisy: each time a “check engine” light is illuminated the computer will retain the trouble code in memory, even if the light goes out by itself. the technician with a professional scan tool goes into vehicle history. the scan tool will display the fault code, along with when the fault occurred. it will tell the technician what the vehicle operating condition was speed, engine load, speed, transmission gear, engine temperature, etc. there is no getting around a history fault code, unless the computer has an internal memory loss.

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dear doctor: i have a 2000 buick lesabre, which is in great condition except for the gasoline gauge messing up. at about half a tank, the gasoline gauge starts to wander from half to three quarters full. what can be done to fix this problem? is it a big deal to fix? 

dear chris: with a professional scan tool in vehicle-specific setting the technician can see everything the computer sees, including the amount of fuel that the fuel sender is sending to the computer. the fuel sending unit sends its signal to the computer and then to the dash cluster. this is the sequential way to check for the problem lying with the dash cluster or sending unit.

dear doctor: is there a way to improve the braking in my 2005 kia sportage? at highway speeds the brakes feel underpowered. the dealer has checked everything and said the brakes are fine. are there brake pads that would improve stopping over the kia oem brake pads?

dear mike: semi-metallic brake pads do have more friction stopping power than organic or ceramic brake friction material. i would also suggest having the technician bleed the hydraulic system. i have never had any of my clients with this kia suv complain about the brake performance.

dear doctor: i have a maddening problem. i can’t seem to find a product that removes the white wax from my suv’s black vinyl trim after waxing it. i tried everything auto stores have recommended, like mother’s “back to black” but it doesn’t really remove the wax, it just hides it for a while. i even tried wd-40, thinking this would dissolve the wax, but to no avail. what do you or other professional car owners recommend? 

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dear john: white, or light color wax, when coming in contact with black plastic/vinyl trim actually penetrates the porous black trim, so you need to use a brush and any petroleum-based clear or dark product that will remove the wax. you will also need to use a stiff brush to remove the wax from the plastic. if you want to use a trim cleaner it should be black in color. if the wax did penetrate the trim, then consult a local body shop for their suggestion in the use of a very fine sandpaper and then wet-sand the area of concern then reseal the sanded area before the gloss application.

by junior damato motor matters

Category: Headlights