Q. My 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee keeps stalling. I get a jump start and it will start up, then I can drive about a mile before it stalls. Sometimes I can get it to start up again. I had the computer replaced. I also had the transmission replaced because I was told this was the original problem. We take good care of the car and keep up on it. Please give us your advice on how to fix this problem.
A. If it is dying out after driving for a short distance, and it starts with a jump-start, it sounds as if the battery is discharging. The first place that I would start would be with a complete check of the electrical/charging system. I would suspect a poor electrical connection or faulty charging system.
Q. I own a 2004 Kia Amanti and the trunk light no longer works. I replaced the bulb and the fuse; neither fixed the problem. All the other lights in or outside the vehicle work and there is no sign of any electrical issues. Any suggestions on what the problem may be and how to fix it?
A. Since you have replaced the bulb and fuse, the one item you haven’t checked is the trunk light switch. This is a simple switch and should be easy to check. In addition, even though you replaced the fuse and bulb, did you check the electrical circuit for proper operation?
Q. I’m considering buying the new Chevy Spark and read online recently that one consumer magazine called it one of the worst cars they have tested in quite a while. I have driven the car and liked it, have you driven it and what do you think?
A. I did spend a few days in the Spark and found it to be a great city car. It is easy to park, nimble and rode pretty well. I was even surprised about the handling-it was much better than I expected. The front seats were comfortable and the rear seating and storage not bad considering the Sparks “tidy” proportions. Where the Spark was lacking is engine performance, merging onto a busy highways takes a little planning. Although during my time with the Spark I never averaged less than 35 miles per gallon. The combination of great mileage, nimble handling and a $16,000 price tag would certainly cause me give the Spark a second look.
Q. I have a 2007 Pontiac G6 coupe. It was slow to start recently and needed a jump. At the time, it seemed the slow cranking caused the instrument panel to go "haywire." The security system also was keeping the car from starting. It did start after a while, but every few days it wouldn’t start so I replaced the battery. The car is still not starting and I went online and read that this is a common problem with this and other GM cars. One person suggests leaving the ignition in the "on" position until the security light goes out. This works, but is quite annoying. I also read about bypassing the security lock, have you heard of this? Do you have any feedback or advice to offer, please?
A. It is possible that the problem is with the security system, but it could be other issues as well. I would check for voltage loss problems on all of the related electrical connections. In addition the starter itself could be faulty. Although, as common as problems with the ignition-PASSKEY systems may be, I have seen battery cable corrosion cause just as many incidents of poor starting on GM vehicles.
Q. I came across your email address and I have a question for you. It has been many years since I bought a car due to the fact I had company cars. I don't need a new car, but it would be nice to have one. I have been looking at the Honda Pilot, Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer. Here is where I could use your opinion. I am currently driving a Nissan Maxima and SUV's interest me due to safety/visibility. On the other hand, so does the Taurus because I have always had a sedan. In your opinion, how would you rate each of these vehicles for performance, wear and tear, and which car holds its resale the best.
A. The Honda Pilot would be on the top of the list; it holds it value, is a good performer and is a great use of space. The current Ford Explorer is, in my opinion, the best Explorer made to date. The Taurus is a very good sedan, comfortable, very roomy, and returns decent mileage.