Car Guides

My truck’s heat won’t work on the driver’s side

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader having a heating issue in his truck.

The 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty. Ford

Q. I have a 2017 Ford Truck F350 4WD Super Duty that I use for my landscape business and plowing. The heat on the driver’s side isn’t working. I took it to the repair shop, and they found that the temperature blend door was binding up. They replaced the heater box and it worked for about a month until the same thing happened. No one wants to plow snow in a truck with bad heat. Any ideas on this?

A. Ford issued two technical service bulletins. When the temperature is very cold and you have poor heat on one side of the truck, the fix is a replacement heater core. The second bulletin describes a binding temperature door actuator. The TSB is titled Lack of Heat or Cooling from the Cabin Vents – Temperature Door or Door Actuator Binding/Inoperative – DTC B1081:07. The repair is quite extensive, and it may make sense that you are this far into the repair to replace the heater core at the same time, since it will be out in the open. 

Q. About a month ago I purchased four new tires for my car. After about three weeks a low tire warning came on. I checked the tires, and the driver rear tire was low. I aired it up and about three days later it was low again. I went back to the tire store and they told me it was a nail in the tire. I drove the car for five years and never had a nail in any tire. Was this because they are cheaper tires and is the repaired tire safe? 


A. Flat tires happen. The quality of the tire has nothing to do with whether a nail will puncture it or not. If the tire was repaired properly using a plug/patch combination, there is no reason to think the tire isn’t as good as new. 

Q. When I’m out on the highway in my 1996 Acura RL, the car will just randomly rock from side to side. If I slow down it will feel fine. The faster I drive the worse it feels. The shake seems to be coming from the back of the car. Could it be a faulty spring or shock that is causing this shake? 


A. Certainly, all of the suspension components should be evaluated as part of the inspection to find the shake. I suspect that you may have a damaged wheel or tire with a slipped belt, sometimes called separation. When this happens, the sidewall will get weak and shift and cause the tire to track poorly. If the tire was on the front you would feel the vibration at lower speeds as well, but on the rear of the car a tire with belt separation will rock or shake at higher speeds. Have the tires inspected as soon as possible before you have a blowout while driving. 


Q. My very dependable 2005 Chrysler 300 has a vibration that only happens when I’m slowing down on the highway to take an exit. The vibration is in the steering wheel and only when my foot is on the brake to slow down. I have owned this car since new and never have done much more than replace fluids and tires. 

A. I suspect you have an out-of-round brake rotor combined with a little suspension wear. As the brake rotors get hot the vibration will get worse. As you are slowing down to take the exit the rotors start to build up heat, then as you apply more brake pressure the vibration gets worse. 


Q. How do I lower the headlights on a 2014 Toyota Tacoma? I get flashed often because the lights are high on a low beam setting. I asked at the dealership and they will charge me $79.00 to lower the lights. I know there is a screw that needs to be turned to set the lights, but I can’t find the screw in this exact model.

A. The first thing to do is check the overall headlight alignment. There is a specific procedure to do this, using a light board and parking 25 feet away. The alignment should be checked on both low and high beam settings. Although there are only two adjustments, vertical and horizontal, it is easy to get the headlights further out of adjustment, making the lights offensive and ineffective. Perhaps to save a little money if there is a vocational school near you, they might be willing to make the necessary adjustments as part of a lighting lesson.


John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail your car question to [email protected]. Listen to Car Doctor on the radio at 10 a.m. every Saturday on 104.9 FM or online at

Get's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on