Q: I have a
2013 Hyundai Elantra with 84,624 miles. The dealer recently replaced
the engine under warranty. When I picked up the completed car, the
check engine light came on within a couple of miles. I took it back,
and they found a vacuum leak trouble code and needed to get a smoke
tester to find the leak. They told me the problem was a contaminated
"evap" canister. I am wondering if the smoke test could
have contaminated the system or if that was even the problem.
A: No, the
smoke machine did not contaminate anything. These devices, which
have been around for years, inject harmless smoke into the fresh air
intake system of the engine. This is where vacuum leaks occur but
they are very hard to find. Any "false air" entering the
engine causes performance problems. By filling the system with
smoke, the leak reveals itself as it curls from the leak. Easily
spotted, it can be quickly repaired.
Q: I use
92-octane non-oxygenated fuel in the tank of my 1971 Jaguar. Do I
need to add a fuel stabilizer for winter storage?
Stabilizers keep the fuel fresh, much as a refrigerator keeps food
fresh. It doesnít matter what the octane is or the amount of
ethanol (or other oxygenate) in the fuel. After adding the
stabilizer, run the engine for about 10 minutes to distribute it
throughout the system. This is especially important for engines with
carburetors, because fuel sitting in the float bowl gets gooey and
can also gum up the carbís passages.
Q: Is any car
company still manufacturing small to midsize SUVs, not crossovers?
It seems the latter is being used interchangeably with the former. I
am currently driving a 2006 Jeep Liberty. Itís only a matter of
time, Iím afraid.
A: To the best
of our knowledge, there are no popular midsize SUVs built on a true
ladder frame. Only the large SUVs built on the companyís
corresponding trucks feature the traditional body-on-frame. Unless
you do a lot of off-roading or heavy hauling, a crossover SUV should
be more than adequate, and you will get decent fuel economy.