Q: Hi Paul,
I've got 300,000 miles on a 1999 Mercury Sable and will probably be replacing within the year. Ideal candidate? A big improvement in fuel mileage (30+ city, 35+ hwy) and a cargo area big enough to carry a bag of golf clubs. I'm not interested in a hybrid and would appreciate your thoughts on the VW Passat TDI. If I can wait, any idea as to whether the new 2013 VW Golf or 2013 Audi A3 will be able to schlep the clubs and when they will be available?
Golf an A3 are probably too small. But the new VW Jetta is a fantastic car and has a huge trunk. Passat is also quite a good vehicle, but might be larger than you need unless you have a family. As for the TDi models. They are also good and reliable, but do you need the fuel economy boost vs. the added cost. If you do a lot of highway driving, then a TDi makes sense. If you drive short distances, then you can save the money up front by getting a gasoline model.
Q: I listen to you every Saturday - YOU ARE THE BEST!!!
I already left you an email on your WLS email address. I am SORRY for thr double reporting, but I am passionate regarding one issue with my car.
Toyota Sienna's are fantastic vechiles but they are tire eaters. I have a 2004 Sienna with 105,000 miles on it and have to replace the tires every 30,000 miles. What a Royal Pain in the Butt!! The problem is called Tire Scrubbing.
I purchase only top of the line Goodyear or Michelin tires. I have the front end aligned twice a year. I rotate the tires every other oil change (6,000 miles). I check the tire inflation every 2 weeks (35lbs). None of it makes any difference. The tires get bald on inside and outside edges but the tread in the center of the tire stays perfect.
I have had Toyota check the vechile three times but they cannot find any problem. Naturally, the Toyota Company has never heard of the problem.
Several Toyota Mechnics have told me that Toyota Siennas EAT TIRES. There is nothing you can do about it. They recommended I purchase cheap tires and replace them every 20,00 miles. That isn't safe and I don't really want to do that.
This is a safety issue. Why haven't I heard reports regarding this problem?? Do you know anything about this problem?? Do you have any suggestions for Sienna owners??
I talked with a service technician at a Toyota dealership. He is aware that minivans and other larger SUVs are hard on tires. He related that the problem isn’t one of design, but of physics. A minivan is a large, heavy and tall vehicle. That means it puts a LOT of stress on the front tires, especially when turning. It’s unlikely that any tire brand you choose will give you better wear characteristics. From personal experience with a Kia minivan, I saw the same thing. Keeping the tires as the maximum recommended pressure and rotating frequently helped. But I still rarely got more than 25,000 miles out of a set over nearly 120,000 miles. It can be frustrating, I agree.
Q: i have a 2006 impalla ss with 25000 miles.my midas dealer tells me i should change the tires because of the age even tho they have a lot of tread left.I dont see any dry rot but they claim it starts along the rim. I've researched on line and get alot of conflecting opinions. What say you
The Impala SS is a great car and the last of its breed. You’d want to keep it safe at all costs! Seriously, tires aren’t something you should mess with. I talked to a representative from Bridgestone and they also recommended changing the tires at a minimum every five years regardless of wear. Given proper care and kept out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods, the tires should last up to 10 years, but why do you want to tempt fate. There are lots of tire deals to be had right now, so why not at least check them out.
Q: Looking at purchasing a Toyota FJ Cruiser, the new 2012 model, what are your thoughts?
Norm, the FJ is a unique vehicle and certainly isn't for everyone. It's got all of the chops to be a true off-road champion, but suffers in daily driving from limited visibility and a slightly more bouncy ride than a more conventional crossover SUV like the Toyota Highlander. FJ might surprise you though, it's quite refined and has good on-road manners.
Q: My 2010 Ford Fusion has an acccident caused dent near the bottom of the driver door. I was hoping to get it undented through a popping/suctioning paintless type operation. Do you know of a repair facility that does this type of repair? Thnaks for any information
Stephen, I talked to a couple of repair shops and both would not answer without being able to see the extent of the damage. There are a couple of "paintless" dent removal options out there, but in most cases they have very limited capabilities. I talked with one dealer that has recently had some hail damage to vehicles and his response is that the paintless removal process is not successful much of the time, so it's not really worth it.
Q: Hi Paul, when will Jeep be coming out with a diesel engine?
I love my Jeep. I have 2001 Grand Cherokee Ltd V8 and love the power but not the mileage. But still wouldn't give up the power for better mileage. Do lots of country driving. Also love the spec, couldn't do with less.
Mary, thanks for the note. Jeep has announced that there will be a diesel engine in the Grand Cherokee for the 2013 model year. No announced on sale date yet.
Q: Not a question - just agreeing with the lady who could not see over or around here head rest. This is a problem for me also and I am 5'4". Never had this problem until I bought a 2006 Zephyr. Previously had a Mercury Sport (I think that was the model). No problem seeing around the head rest in the Mercury or a 1996 Mercury Sable. However, the Zephyr has a huge headrest AND it is of no use to me as it is not ergonomically feasible for me to come in contact with. Please tell Ford that a change MUST BE MADE. Only a chosen few are 6'5". I love everything else about my Zephyr. It is just my size - EXCEPT FOR THE HEADREST.
Doris, thanks for the comment and for listening to DriveChicago on the radio. A few years back, the federal government changed a safety standard that required better protection against whiplash injuries in automobiles. As a result, automakers had to introduce larger and more substantial headrests for all seating positions. That's why it wasn't a problem in your old Sable and is on the newer Zephyr. In many cases, the headrests can be removed, so check out that option. I could complain to Ford for you, but it's really a federal motor vehicle standard that forced the change.
Q: What do you think of the 2.0T engines from VW and Audi as compared to similar engines from GM and BMW, for instance? I am aware that the VW/Audi engine is down on hp and torque in comparison, but the long-term reliability, smoothness and even the sound are important to me as well. So, in your opinion of the three engines I've mentioned which do you like most and which least? Why?
Audi/VW have had a turbocharged 2.0-liter four for more than a decade. It's a thoroughly tested engine and quite dependable, if a little bit down on power compared to competitors larger turbo fours and V6 engines. It's generally got plenty of power for a small or midsize car or compact crossover. Fuel economy is a huge plus. When Audi/VW went to direct injection a few years ago, it was a little noisy at idle, but that problem has been mitigated over the past couple of years. I'd have no problem recommending the engine as a great compromise between power and fuel economy.
Q: best mpg in city drivig
Al, generally the most fuel efficient vehicles in the city are small hybrids and I'll tell you why. A hybrid vehicle is a combination of two power sources. Most have a small gas engine and electric motor/battery pack. This combo allows the electric motor/battery pack to do most of the work around town. The gas engine only assists acceleration and perhaps during long periods of cruising. Small hybrids are even more efficient than diesel engines around town. If you are really looking for the best city mpg, the Toyota Prius c would be your best bet, however, any Prius model would be very efficient. Depending on your daily drive loop and charging ability you could look into an extended-range electric like the Chevrolet Volt or all-electric Nissan LEAF. If you drive less than 40 miles each day, they would be more efficient than even the Prius c--assuming you could plug in each evening.