Q: I had a flat on my
Grand Cherokee last week that couldn’t be fixed. I was getting
close to needing a new set of tires, so I had all four replaced. I
also had a four-wheel alignment, after reading about this in your
column. I noticed that while driving on the highway, my Jeep pulls
slightly to the right. My boyfriend and his buddy said that is done
on purpose so that if a driver falls asleep, the car will veer to
the right and not into oncoming traffic. Is that the reason, or do I
need to take my Jeep back in for a redo?
— P.P., Rockford,
A: Your vehicle is
pulling while your boyfriend and his buddy are pulling your leg.
Does the pulling problem seem more likely to happen on a certain
road more than others? That road may have a greater crown than
others. Most roads, especially in flat terrain as found in Illinois,
are crowned at the center and slant to the outer edges to remove
water from the road. That typically causes some vehicles to pull
slightly to the right. Take it back for a redo. A good alignment
technician can adjust the steering system to compensate for crowned
Q: I have a 2014
Nissan Altima. At 65,000 miles, it would not start. The starter
would go through its cycle, but the engine would not run, although
it sounded as if it was trying. I had to finally give up and call a
tow truck. My shop finally got it started but did not tell me how.
At 76,000 miles, it did it again. On the internet, I found others
have had the same problem. One guy posted that he applied the brake,
opened the accelerator about 3/4 and his engine cranked right up. I
did this, and it worked. My Nissan dealer and the shop manager said
they had never heard of the problem before. Without a fault code,
there apparently is not much the dealer can do. Any suggestions?
— W.H., Waycross,
A: As vehicles rely
more on computers and the sensors that report to them, tracking down
a problem, especially an intermittent problem without a trouble
code, becomes increasingly difficult. Your no-start problem may be a
faulty brake light switch that fails intermittently as you press the
pedal and then the start/stop switch. It may be due to a weak fuel
pump, or it may be a faulty camshaft position sensor. Or it may be
something else. Your shop may have to spend considerable time
chasing it down.
Q: I have a 2010 Ford
Expedition with 104,000 miles. I keep it well maintained and have
the front end aligned at each oil change. Recently I have noticed a
vibration that appears to be in the front end when I reach 60 mph.
Do you know what could be wrong?
— J.F., Oakland
A: A vibration that
only occurs at a specific speed is usually caused by wheel
imbalance. If you feel the vibration in the steering wheel, it
usually indicates a front wheel problem. If you feel it in the seat
of your pants, it usually indicates a rear wheel problem. Checking
alignment at every oil change is probably unnecessary. Save your
money, and spend it on getting your wheels re-balanced.