Dear Doctor: The right rear wheel of my 2005 Toyota Camry is making a scraping sound when driving forward, but not in reverse. My mechanic replaced the rotor with a high-grade ceramic pad, and replaced the rear calipers as well. I don’t hear the scraping sound everyday, but definitely when driving slowly around town — it’s loud enough to get people’s attention. Can you help? Harold
Dear Harold: The back wheel of your Toyota has parking brake shoes that are small in size and contact the inside of the brake rotor when the parking brake is applied. I have seen the shoe hold-down springs and mounts rust out and cause scraping sounds. There are also small stainless clips that often move and can cause a scraping sound, as well as a rear wheel bearing that can be rusted. Have the technician recheck the parking brake and rear hub and bearing, or try another shop.
Dear Doctor: I recently started changing the oil on my 2011 Toyota RAV4 that has the 3.5-liter engine. I noticed that the ends of the cartridge filters that STP and FRAM make for my car are a little different from each other. One covers the whole ends of the cartridge filter and the other covers only half of the ends. Does this matter? Have you heard of any issues with these cartridge filters other than the ones from Toyota? Joe
Dear Joe: Oil filter designs will differ slightly via manufacturers, especially the sealing design at either end. As long as you are using a good quality filter that meets the manufacturer’s specifications, there should not be a problem. Beware of cheap oil filters and cheap oils, especially cheap oil change offers. There are multiple quality filters and oils. Remember, the oil and filter are the lifeblood of the engine. If you have any concern, then use the factory brand oil filter or a major brand oil that meets the manufacturer’s specs.
Dear Doctor: I have two questions regarding my 1997 Mercedes-Benz E-420. 1: What is the proper procedure for performing a complete coolant flush? 2: What’s the name of the product for the rubber dressings used on the window and trunk rubber seals? Thank you for your column. I enjoy reading it. Jerry
Dear Jerry: A coolant flush machine is a great way to conduct a flush, however most shops no longer use them. The next best way is to drain the radiator and engine block, if possible. Always use the correct antifreeze for the vehicle. Some so-called universal antifreeze products are not compatible with certain vehicles, especially import vehicles. Go to the auto parts store and review all the antifreeze labels to find the correct import brand. Secondly, “rubber seal lubrication” is the name of the product type. There are many brands you can find at the auto stores — and they all will clean and coat the rubber seals.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2012 Ford Fusion. The air conditioning works intermittently. Heated air blows from the vents and cancels the a/c. When the a/c is working it’s very cold. How do I find the source of the problem? John
Dear John: Have a technician check the body control module for fault codes. A fault code in this system will not set the check engine light on. The technician will also check the pressure in the system, along with the a/c compressor and electric cooling fan operation. These are the first steps that need to be performed.
Dear Doctor: When I open the door to my 2012 Honda Accord the cruise control and headlight indicator lights come on. Then when I start the car most of the indicator lights stay on. As I drive the indicator lights flicker and then go out, but recently the indicator lights remain on. This problem is intermittent. The cruise control works fine. Should I go to the dealer to fix this, or are there shops that specialize in dashboard electronic problems? How would I find a qualified shop, and what can I expect to pay for a repair — or replacement? Bruce
Dear Bruce: Feedback in the system is back-feeding the dash cluster. I would start by disconnecting the negative battery cable for two hours, making sure you have the radio security code before disconnecting the battery. This will reset the entire electrical system. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then you will need to find a shop that utilizes either the Alldata or Identifix systems.
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
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