Q. I listen to your radio program on WROL and enjoy it very much as well as the Sunday Globe question and answers. I have a problem with my 2010 Nissan Altima that does not seem like can be resolved. The car has 25,000 miles and is still under warranty. It was purchased new in July 2010 and had no problem until March 21, 2012. On that day I went to start the car and had no response, no lights, or indication of any power from the car. I called AAA and the man from AAA put in a new battery at my request. When I came back from my appointment I went directly to the dealer and told them what happened. They tested my car and couldn’t find any problems. The car has been to the dealership five times because of the battery going dead and at this point they have no suggestions. I am now trying to contact Nissan to see if they can help with this. It has been pretty upsetting and frankly I am at a point to trade my car in for a Camry or an Accord. Thank you for any suggestion you may have.
A. According to our folks in the AAA road service department, you are certainly not the first person to have this problem. One problem that I have seen more than once is the light in the start button will continue to illuminate when the car is shut off. Other possible problems are if the ignition key-fob is kept near the car it will send a “wake-up” call to the car and kill the battery. In addition, if the steering wheel is not left in the lock position the battery will go dead.
Q. I bought a 2010 Ford Explorer in July 2011. It was a lease car with 23,000 miles on it. Since that time, I have had the following problem: when I apply the brakes the car surges forward and the engine revs up. The car continues to go 1-3 feet after brakes have been applied. Both of these conditions happen intermittently. I have brought it back to the dealer many times and they cannot duplicate the problem.
A. My first thought is this is not a mechanical problem but perhaps an issue with pedal “misapplication.” Recently I drove a late model Mustang and due to the gas/brake pedal design I found myself on more than one occasion pushing the gas and brake at the same time. This action caused the car to surge slightly and lurch forward. I couldn’t believe it happened the first time and only realized it was me on the third instance. One mechanical possibility is that the anti-lock brakes are activating at a low speed causing the car to “slip” forward. If this is the case, the most common issue is a problem with one of the wheel sensor/tone-rings.
Q. I have a2007 Hyundai Sante-Fe that was totaled and now repaired. I purchased the car from a salvage yard and the body repair looks poorly done. When I purchased this vehicle I knew I was buying a project. The car starts and runs but won’t accelerate and there is at least one code. Any suggestions?
A. I would start with a check of the basics such as fuel pressure and volume, properly operating ignition system and correct timing. Once all of these have been verified, look at the fault codes. My experience with reconstructed totaled cars is that there can be poorly repaired wiring issues that can cause a lifetime of problems. In some cases, I have seen complete wiring harnesses replacement as the only remedy.
Reader comment: I read the letter in the Sunday Boston Globe about the 2002 Toyota Camry gas pump handle clicking off prematurely. This happened to me and after taking it to the local Toyota service department I was told it “may” be the check valve. They would start there (for $325 to replace it) as part of the diagnostic process. I declined, and continued to pump gas by not depressing the lever on the pump handle, completely. This was filling the tank slower, but in a few weeks or months (but definitely less than 6 months) the issue resolved itself. It may have been a change of season time or the spiders left. I eventually tried filling the tank as fast as possible and there was no problem. So, tell your readers patience may help save some money.