We own a Pontiac Aztec. At 40,000 miles the left front tire started to separate. Now, at 70,000 miles, the left front tire is separating again.
Q: I own a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant with 38,000 miles. After driving the car and parking it, there is a smell of antifreeze. I have owned the car for seven months and have not seen any leaks or had to add any antifreeze. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
A: Vehicles give off odors that can be confusing. If the antifreeze smell you mention was actual antifreeze, the antifreeze level would go down. Today’s engines do run much hotter than cars of a few years ago. There could also be a piece of plastic stuck on the exhaust that will give off an odor when hot.
Q: Is there any kind of override door lock system that would allow a person to lock the car from the inside, in the case of a dead battery, while waiting for a tow truck to come to the rescue?
A: In some cases on vehicles equipped with power door locks and no buttons or rods to pull or push, the door locks cannot be energized to lock. Some of our vehicles are all about having 12 volts to power almost everything.
Q: We own a Pontiac Aztec. At 40,000 miles the left front tire started to separate. Now, at 70,000 miles, the left front tire is separating again. We had changed tire brands and driving habits. Both the dealer and local tire shop have not been able to find the problem. I contacted GM, and they said I must have been doing something wrong. It is the same thing they said years ago when the paint was peeling off cars. What are your thoughts?
A: For tires to wear prematurely, something is wrong either with the vehicle or maintenance. In your letter you did not mention the year of your vehicle and the tire rotation miles you adhered to. Inflation and rotation are critical for tire life. I have not seen any ongoing tire wear concerns on this vehicle.
Q: In August of 2004, I purchased a new 2005 Lexus ES330, which is the most expensive car I have ever owned. I am a senior citizen and drive very little. It is recommended to change the oil and filter every 5,000 miles. As of today, I only have 7,800 miles. This past March I brought the car to the dealer for a free 5,000-mile service with only 3,679 miles. In August, with only 6,624 miles, I went in for a service oil change and a list of checked items for a total of $167. Is it necessary for me to spend $167 each time I change the oil? What should my oil change interval be, and can I go to any one other than the dealer for service?
A: Clean oil is the lifeblood of the engine. With your limited driving you can get away with two oil changes a year and I would use full synthetic. You can go to any shop and they can also check all the items that are listed in the manual. I would also recommend that you get this car out on the highway weekly for a 15-minute drive at highway speeds.
Q: I own a 2005 Subaru Outback six-cylinder with VDC. The throttle response seems to have a 1.5 to 2 second delay. What can be the problem?
A: I have driven many Subarus, both four- and six-cylinders; I have never noticed a delayed throttle response. The first step is go to back to the dealer and let them road test the car. Second, test-drive another 2005 Subaru to see if the other Subaru has the same delayed throttle response. If there was an engine management problem the check engine light should illuminate.
Junior Damato writes weekly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.