Q. I need to find the best all-season-tire for my 2007 Subaru Forester. The present tire is a P215/60R16-94H. I’m older, active, and drive about 6000 to 10,000 miles a year. I live on Cape Cod if that makes any difference. I need to have the tires installed and the wheels aligned and balanced. Any other thoughts?
A. If you are happy with the current tires, replacing them with the same type may make the most sense. There are many makes and tire styles and all of them are quite good. My suggestion would be to buy tires from someone that can offer good service, including four-wheel alignment, as well as a tire warranty. Considering the cost of tires today a “road hazard” warranty may be a good investment.
Q. I have a 2002 Subaru Outback with 160,000 miles on it. I have kept up with all the maintenance per the owner’s manual. My question is, should I keep it longer or begin to shop now for a replacement vehicle. It is not giving me any problems at this time, help!
A. There was a time when a car was considered worn out at 100,000 miles now we routinely see cars going 250,000 miles or more. Recently, I received an email about a BMW that runs great with over 500,000 miles on it. It is always cheaper to fix an old car than buy a new one. If you continue to maintain the car properly and the body remains structurally sound, and you are not tired of it, why not hold on to it?
Q. My 1999 Ford Escort pours out blue smoke every time I pull away from a red light. What is going on?
A. I would first start with a compression test and a cylinder leak down test. Both these tests will help determine what is worn out in your Ford’s engine. The problem could be worn piston rings; if this is the case, the repair will be quite expensive.
Q. My truck could use some additional power, in my opinion. Are superchargers something that a decent novice mechanic could install?
A. Adding a supercharger is certainly possible, but can be somewhat complex. You need to install more than just the supercharger. There is wiring, plumbing, adding an intercooler/aftercooler, and then custom tuning the truck. There are several manufacturers of superchargers. If it were me, I would check some of the enthusiast forums and see what other owners are using. These forums are a great place to learn from others mistakes.
Q. My 30-year-old truck does not want to run and on most mornings is skipping/missing. There are computer codes and we put a fuel pump in, thinking that would help. Now I’m lost, can you help?
A. Since this is an older truck, I would want to start with the basics before thinking about computer issues. A compression test or cylinder balance test is in order to determine what is causing the engine skip. You may find the misfire is a result of something as simple as a faulty distributer cap, vacuum leak, or something as serious as poor compression due to a worn valve.
Q. I own a 2009 Toyota Tacoma with about 39,000 miles on it and have a question about the accuracy of the speedometer. Recently, I noted that the speed registered on the speedometer did not agree with that on our Garmin GPS. The cruise control was set at 67 MPH, whereas the GPS indicated that the speed was 62 MPH. This was for a sustained period on a highway. In view of this, I switched the GPS to our 2008 Forester, where the speedometer agreed with the GPS.I called the dealer from whom I had purchased the Tacoma and was asked to bring it in to be checked. Should there be a problem and it was covered by warrantee, it would be corrected at no charge. If not, it would cost $104.00 for the diagnosis. They provided me with the telephone number for Toyota's Customer Care Center. Here, I was told that a "10%" variation in speedometers was "normal" and that was true "for all of our vehicles."While I realize that there are many conditions that can and do affect the accuracy of a speedometer, the 10% figure seems a bit over the edge. Any comments you might have on this would be appreciated.
A. The 10 percent standard the dealer quotes is not completely correct. The general standard as set by the Society of Automotive Engineers is 0-4 percent above speeds of 55 miles per hour based on the total speed range of the speedometer. A speedometer that reads up to 150 miles per hour could vary by as much as 6 miles per hour. Based on this standard the speedometer in your vehicle meets the current industry standard.