Q: I have a 2008
Toyota Camry Solara convertible with a sporadic brake issue.
Occasionally, the car will lunge forward when the brake is applied
as though the accelerator is stuck. I have taken the car to two
separate Toyota dealers who cannot diagnose the problem (they say
the car performs normally for them).
— G.W., Allentown,
A: When our brakes
fail, we often get the feeling that the car lunges. You can usually
restore braking performance, at least temporarily, by pumping the
pedal. Most likely, your master cylinder is failing.
Q: I have a 2002
Pontiac Bonneville SLE. It’s the 205 HP, 3800, 6 cylinder. I love
the car, and it’s in excellent condition with 122,000 miles on it.
Lately the engine has been missing when driven in a hard rain. After
leaving a drive-through car wash recently, it acted as though it
wouldn’t make it home. The next day it drove fine. Before I take
it in for service I would like to have an idea of what to be
suspicious of. Is it a faulty seal, cracked hose or wire?
— R.C., Chicago
A: It seems as though
water is causing something to short out, and that something is
probably an ignition coil. Each of the three coils fires two
cylinders. With the engine running, try spraying each coil with
water to see if any act up. Replace that coil or all three if you
Q: I have recently
replaced all four tires and had a brake job. My car then started
making a scraping-type noise on the right side whenever the brakes
were applied. I took it back to the shop that did the brake job, and
they said I needed calipers on the right side, which I went ahead
and did. The noise is back! It seems to be rotation-related. When
the brakes are first applied, the scraping noise is very rapid and
then it slows as the car slows. Do you have any idea what it might
— G.D., Carver,
A: It sounds as
though the brake wear warning tab may be contacting the rotor. Some
brake pads have a little steel tab that touches the rotors when the
pads wear to the point of replacement. The tabs make a scraping or
hissing sound when the brakes are applied. Because you recently got
new pads, the tab may have been bent. Have the installing tech take
a close look.
Q: I have a 2015
Nissan Rouge with the onboard navigation that needs updating. It has
been providing very strange directions lately and I have used my
cellphone for navigation instead. Should I continue to use my
cellphone for navigation?
— M.R., Palatine,
A: Use your
smartphone or use a discrete GPS unit. These are kept up to date
without having to trek to the dealer or pay for updates.
Q: I have a 2005
Santa Fe that needed some engine work that required removal of the
serpentine belt and tensioner. The car has 120,000 miles and the
belt has never been replaced. I was informed that the tensioner
broke when the mechanic was removing the part. Is this common? Who
should foot this bill?
— B.P., Homer Glen,
A: Unless you can
prove negligence, you have to pay. On vehicles with as many miles
and years as yours, things wear out, become seized, or even require
prying to remove. Stuff happens.