Q. I am considering a small sporty car. I have been looking at the Scion FR-S and the Mazda Miata MX-5. I like the contemporary look of the Scion but I also like the idea of a convertible. This will not be my primary car but just a fun car to drive when I am in the mood to enjoy driving.
A. I have driven both cars and my impression was the Scion is faster, handles better, larger and perhaps a bit more practical. It does have a back seat, not one that adults can sit in, but offers extra storage. To me the MX-5 Miata is just more fun. The ride is slightly softer, the handling not quite as sharp, but is has a nicer shifter, better exhaust note and it is a convertible. After driving both cars back to back and using my personal cost to fun calculator, my choice would be the Mazda.
Q. I have a question for you regarding my 2014 Forester. Is there any after markets solutions a Subaru dealer can install to make the power door locks work automatically?
A. I am not aware of any system that can provide the features you are looking for. Not to say that it can’t be accomplished. A technician would need to connect into the cars speed sensor and power-lock system. Personally, I would just get in a habit of locking the car doors every time I got in the car.
Q. My 2004 Hyundai stalls every time I get gas. I have to turn it off and on a few times before it starts and stays running. My mechanic has never heard of this but is going to try to help. Do you have any ideas?
A. Since this happens every time you get gas I would first look at the evaporative control system. If the evaporative solenoid is sticking open it will cause a similar problem. A technician with a scan tool and smoke machine should be able to pinpoint the problem.
Q. I have a 2006 RAV4 with 4 wheel drive and about 86,500 miles. When I am traveling at around the 35-40 mph there is a loud rumbling/vibration noise. It doesn’t happen when the car is accelerating from 0 mph past that speed, just when hovering around the 35-40 mph. The noise does not come from the engine area and it seems like it comes from the rear of the car. Any ideas?
A. The problem could be the transmission but it also could be related to the overall running of the engine. I have seen this mode have a slight misfire at this speed causing the rumble and vibration that you describe. Before I condemn the transmission, I would want to test the ignition system including the spark plugs and ignition coils.
Q. I was listening to your radio program online and heard the interview with Dave Power of J.D. Power fame and found it quite interesting. I will admit I don’t always listen to your program but when I do, I find the interview portion interesting (I do like the trivia question as well). Is there a place I can find past interviews, are they on iTunes?
A. Thanks for the kind words; I find I learn quite a bit from the guests on my show as well. Right know I’m not on iTunes but you can find podcasts of the interviews on http://johnfpaul.podomatic.com. You can also follow me on Twitter to find out what is coming up on my program in the future. My Twitter account can be found at: twitter.com/johnfpaul. Of course you can listen live Saturday at 9am, on wrolradio.com, IHEART radio, TUNEIN radio apps for your smart phone or tablet or the “old fashion way” on 950am.
John Paul, the “Car Doctor,” is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England and a columnist for Boston.com. A certified master technician, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on 950 WROL in Boston (www.wrolradio.com) on Saturday mornings at 9. Need car advice? E-mail John at email@example.com or go to www.boston.com/cardoctor for past columns, tips, and repair help.