Q: I drive a 2016 Dodge Durango – my company car. It has 88,000 km on the clock. I will be retiring soon and want to buy this car from the lease contract. I recently noticed that while standing on a hill with my foot on the brake, when I took my foot off the brake, the truck started to roll backwards. The broadcast didn’t hold up on the hill. Any ideas?
A: Called HSA Hill Jump Start Assist, it uses the brakes, not the transmission, to prevent the vehicle from rolling up a hill. According to the vehicle owner’s manual, this is a feature that can be turned on and off. Check if this feature is enabled, if it still doesn’t work then additional testing needs to be done.
Q: Years ago, when I delivered mail, I liked to listen to the “Tapet Brothers” from the Boston area. I would like to know if your station is available to be heard in the Southern Rhode Island area.
A: Tom and Ray (aka Car Talk’s Tappet Brothers) were unique, both funny and informative, and I still run into Ray from time to time (Tom died in 2014). My program is a little different and not that funny, but you can listen at northshore1049.com or download the app.
Hundreds of previous Car Doctor programs can be found at johnfpaul.podbean.com.
Q: I have a 2012 Chrysler 300C and recently came home and found antifreeze on the floor of my garage. The car did not overheat. I had it towed to the dealer and paid $149 to diagnose the problem. The next day they called and said they had pressure tested the system and found no leaks. After driving the car for 20 miles and retesting the system, there is still nothing wrong.
I picked up the car and – after driving for about 20 miles – the car again lost some fluid (very little), although the temperature gauge read normal. I keep an eye on the fluid level in the reservoir and that’s good. Do you have an idea about the cause of the leak?
A: Pressure testing a cooling system is the typical method of finding a leak and generally works well. However, sometimes the source of the leak shuts itself off under pressure. This is especially true for water pump seals.
Since there is an external leak, one way to find it is by adding a dye to the cooling system. Run the engine for a while and let it cool down. Then use an ultraviolet light and special goggles to locate the coolant leak. I’ve seen DIY kits sell for as little as $20.
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Q: I have a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan with 175,000 miles. In recent months he has developed a metal ratchet in the rear axle when hitting bumps or driving on uneven surfaces. I recently replaced the rear shocks (one was bad) and thought that fixed the problem but it still occurs.
A: The rear of the Grand Caravan is quite simple. The rattle could come from a worn bushing in the tie rod, wishbone bushings, or spring insulators. I have found that the best method of finding these noises is to place the vehicle on a drive-on style elevator with all the vehicle weight resting on the tires. This method provides a better view of worn suspension components rather than a traditional lift/lift where the tires hang.
Q: I know you’ve answered this question before. In winter storms, is it best to rest or raise the wipers on the windshield?
A: Raising the wipers prevents them from freezing on the windshield and makes cleaning them easier.
On my own cars, I leave the windshield wipers on, for a number of reasons. I’m concerned that during a storm the wipers could bounce back against the windshield and crack the glass. Repeatedly lifting the wiper to the “service” position puts additional pressure on the wiper arm spring and over time can cause the wiper to chatter.
Over the years I have read hundreds of vehicle owner’s manuals and have never seen a vehicle manufacturer recommend lifting the wiper off the glass. And it looks crazy.
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John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is an ASE certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email email@example.com and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.