Q: I own a
2012 Chevy Suburban with 71,000 miles that I have owned since new.
Recently I went through a local car wash and when I came out the
other side, my dash starting displaying "Service Traction
Control" and "Service Stabilitrak" messages. After
displaying these messages, it will then display "Traction
Off" and "Stabilitrak Off." The anti-lock braking
system light also comes on when the engine is running. It doesnít
appear to have affected the engine in any way, nor has it affected
the four-wheel-drive system. Iím thinking itís some kind of
sensor somewhere that somehow got wet in going through the car wash,
but that is only speculation on my part. Any suggestions, ideas
and/or solutions would be much appreciated.
Maple Grove, Minn.
A: Your hunch
is close. If a wheel speed sensor fails, there is insufficient data
for the control module. Then it canít do its job. Sensors do not
fail from getting wet, as they are exposed to the elements. The
sensor probably did not come off, but a wire or wiring connector
could be broken Take your vehicle to your trusty technician for an
Q: I have been
running E85 in my flex-fuel vehicle more often than not lately. I
actually got it for $1.39 a gallon a couple of months ago. I was
just told that I should change my oil more often since Iím using
E85. Itís this true?
ó S. B,
A: We have
never heard this. In our opinion, E85 burns cleaner and is less
likely to contaminate the oil than E10 or pure gasoline. Besides,
your engine was built to accept E85 fuel. You didnít provide the
make or year of your car, but your vehicle probably has a
maintenance reminder system. Change the oil when it tells you to do
so. Consult your ownerís manual.
Q: With regard
to your recent comments about people preferring automatic
transmissions to manuals, I agree most people prefer automatics for
their convenience, but I suggest you also consider another reason to
choose a modern-day automatic. I grew up driving manual
transmissions, including a number of high-performance cars. Iíve
also been to high-performance driving school, where I learned, and
mastered, the heel-and-toe shifting technique. Even so, my recent
purchases have been high-performance cars with automatics. Why? They
shift faster than anyone can manually ó professional or amateur
ó including matching revs on the downshifts. Lazy? No. I just
prefer having a vehicle where performance potential is maximized.
A: We canít
argue with you. Paddle shifters have been around for a long time
(early 1990s) and Formula One cars prove it. Still, there are those
of us who enjoy driving cars the old-fashioned way. But here is a
little secret: I use the paddles all the time, especially on the
twisties through the mountains of Virginia where we live. Here is
another little secret: We will never own a motorcycle with an
automatic transmission, for the same aesthetic.