Dear Doctor: I’m 74 years old and have always done the brake jobs on all my vehicles. I have a 2005 Ford F-250 Super Duty gas engine truck with 50,000 miles. I replaced the brake calipers after they locked up. About a month ago two calipers locked up again. The other day when I was going out of town and slowing down for a red light I heard a grinding noise when the truck was almost stopped. I used metallic pads (same as I had on the truck before). When the calipers locked up there was no smoke like before, but I smelled the hot pads. What might be the problem? Herb
Dear Herb: I always use new brake hardware and have to grind away all the rust where the brake hardware sits. Seldom do the caliper flex lines need replacement, however, your truck has gone through a couple of calipers and a lot of heat has heated the brake flex lines. I would replace both flex hoses when replacing front brakes. You must also use high quality brake caliper grease when replacing brake pads. Also check to make sure the rear brakes are working and calipers move freely and bleed the rear brakes as well. I always use factory heavy-duty Ford brake pads on all Ford trucks. The factory pads seem to last longer for my customers.
Dear Doctor: My daughter recently bought a used 2005 Jeep Wrangler with the 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine. It has 78,000 miles and is in great shape. The oil has been changed but we don’t know at what mileages the previous oil changes were done. Is it safe to switch to full-synthetic oil, or should we use a high-mileage synthetic oil? Also, its timing belt does not need to be changed, as with most FWD vehicle (am I right on this)? Finally, she noticed a whistling sound at the engine that starts around 20 mph and stops at 45 mph as the transmission shifts to another gear. The dealer changed the catalytic converter and the O2 sensor because it failed the emissions test. What is causing this whistling sound? Sam
Dear Sam: There’s no timing belt on this engine. With proper care the Wrangler engine should run beyond 200,000 miles. I would use regular synthetic oil and change it at 5,000 miles or twice a year, whichever comes first. You should also change the transmission fluid and filter if it has a paper filter. The oil and transmission pan will usually rust out in the Snow Belt areas. Front and rear differential fluids should also be changed, and if the rear differential has the anti-lock option then use the correct additive as well. The catalytic converter is a common fault in the Wrangler and most have four oxygen sensors. Aftermarket converters usually have a short life span and are half the cost of the factory converter.
Dear Doctor: I bought a 2018 Dodge Charger R/T with a Super Track Package option. It came with Goodyear F1 Summer tires. I’ve been reading on forums that these tires aren’t very good, so I’m looking to replace them. I’ve already bought Bridgestone’s Blizzak LM-32 for the winter. What are your thoughts on either Pilot Sport A/S 3+ (an all season tire), or Pilot Sport 4S (a Max Performance Summer tire)? And, what are your thoughts about either the 275/40R20 or 275/40/R20 sizes? Ken
Dear Ken: Tires are a loaded question on any car, not to mention on a high-performance, rear-drive car such as Dodge. Many forums offer information on any subject, but be aware of all the unverified information. Before selecting and buying any tire you must consider the type of driving you do. In most cases performance cars are driven more vigorously than front-drive cars. The softer the rubber on the tire, the more traction it will give you — as well as less actual mileage life. I prefer a non-aggressive tread with a conventional pattern. Many tire brands are available, and Goodyear is no stranger to the tire market. You can also look at some of the imported tires. If you are into drag racing the car, drag radials are for the rear only. They have a great bite, from a stop but do not corner like a factory-type tire.
Dear Doctor: I have 2015 Toyota 4Runner with the automatic transmission and I shift to neutral when I stop at traffic lights, thinking this is easier on the life of the transmission. Is there any positive or negative to doing so? Bob
Dear Bob: Because today’s transmissions have less internal drag than those of previous years, the only time I would suggest placing the transmission in neutral is during prolonged stop-and-go traffic conditions. I do recommend the simple drain-and-fill of the transmission fluid at five years, unless you use the truck for towing, then I would recommend it be at three-year intervals. Use Toyota fluid only. Note: Some transmissions do not have a dipstick to check fluid levels, and must be filled using a pump under the vehicle.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2012 Honda CR-V and the battery dies, especially in the cold, if I don’t use it for a few days. My local Honda center tested the charging circuit and found no problems, but the battery test fails. Most of the batteries have been replaced under warranty. But Honda can’t seem to give me an answer on what is causing this problem. Any ideas? Bob
Dear Bob: Most Honda vehicles have small 51 series batteries that, in my opinion, are almost too small. We always install a group 24 or 35 battery. If the larger-size battery will not fit, then buy a high cold-cranking-reserve AGM battery. (For proper fit, we disregard the plastic shielding).
— Junior Damato, Motor Matters
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2018
(Manufacturer photo: 2005 Ford Super Duty)
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
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