Cars

How can I fix a problem with my older SUV’s navigation system?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who’s having problems with an 11-year-old vehicle’s nav system.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File

Q. I was told by Honda to have my battery disconnected and then reconnected to fix a date issue with my 2011 CR-V EX-L’s navigation. Have you heard anything about this and would it even work? I have a service appointment coming up and I won’t be a happy camper if it doesn’t work.

A. The issue with the date on some Honda models came up this year. The electrical voodoo of disconnecting the battery and holding the cables together essentially reboots the car’s computer system. At the end of summer, Honda still didn’t have a software fix for this issue. But a check online shows that once the GPS sends a new signal, at least in some models, the date can be manually corrected. Let the dealer give it a try and let me know how you make out. 

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Q. What is a decent price for a front-end alignment on a 2017 Toyota Corolla?

A. There was a time when most cars only had the front steering angles adjusted, and when I first started repairing vehicles that price was $19.95. Today, even on a relatively simple car like your Corolla, both the front and rear wheels have adjustment angles that need to be checked and adjusted. I did a little research and the typical cost of a four-wheel alignment is $79 to $129. As a rule, if suspension or underbody components have been removed/installed or replaced, front and rear steering angles should be checked and, if needed, adjusted. 

Q. We have a 2009 Volkswagen CC. The alarm, which the dealer installed, has stopped beeping, when previously it would beep once when the key fob was pressed. Also, at about the same time the rear passenger window began staying down about a half an inch and won’t fully go up. Any ideas or suggestions?

A. This may be two separate problems even though they appeared at about the same time. The alarm may have a faulty module/relay that is not signaling the horn. The rear window may need to be reset. Sometimes this is as simple as from that seating position, run the window down and hold the button for a few seconds and then up for a few seconds and the window will reset. 

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Q. I read one of your answers about a tire leak and wanted to relay my experience. I have a 2013 Honda Accord. Last month my car’s low tire light came on and I went to a service station. They put air in the tire and all was okay. Two weeks later the light was back on. A big tire store told me the front driver tire was low and a test showed no leak. The light came back on a  few weeks later. I went to the tire store again and they inflated the tire and nothing else. It happened a third time and when I returned to the store, around 3:40 p.m., they said they weren’t sure they’d be able to help me today because the close at 5 p.m. I waited and they eventually looked at my car and  told me they found a nail in the tire, which was finally fixed. What do you think of all of this? 

A. Finding a tire with a slow leak requires patience, and in my experience a “dunk-tank” with clear water to look for bubbles. I’ve seen many shops just take a spray bottle with soapy water and spray the tire. That can work for some leaks, if the leak is big enough. On your car it may have taken three weeks for the nail to make a little bigger hole for the leak to become more apparent. Regarding customer service, one of my first jobs was in a good-sized tire store, and if we were in the building even after hours, we never turned down a customer with a flat tire. In fact, in most cases if it was after hours, we repaired the tire at no charge (the cash drawer was put away). The owner always said to treat customers like family and they will come back, and he was right. 

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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 the Car Doctor podcast at johnfpaul.podbean.com.

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