I own a 2000 Mercury Sable with 68,000 miles. The problem is the headlights do not shine bright. The headlight assemblies are cloudy and cannot be cleaned any more. Would a bright headlight bulb work better?

QUESTION: I own a 2000 Mercury Sable with 68,000 miles. The problem is the headlights do not shine bright. The headlight assemblies are cloudy and cannot be cleaned any more. Would a bright headlight bulb work better?

ANSWER: You have to replace both headlight assemblies. There are both good and bad after-market (non-Ford factory) assemblies that have a lifetime warranty on turning cloudy. Once you buy the new assemblies, replace the bulbs with a bright white bulb available from any good auto parts store.

QUESTION: I purchased a new 2009 Honda Accord LX. After I drove awhile I heard a whining sound coming from the engine. I made an appointment and took the car in. After a couple of visits the dealer replaced a lot of parts dealing with the power steering pump, O-rings and lines. I could still hear the noise, so the dealership made an appointment with the Honda service rep. He came out and said he could not hear any noise. He suggested I take a 2010 for a ride and see if the same noise was present. I did take a 2010 Accord out and the same noise was present. He said the sound is normal. What’s my next step?

ANSWER: I hear a lot of noise complaints on a variety of makes and models. Today’s vehicles have a lot of insulation, and engine sounds can be heard. Some power steering and alternators are noisier than others. You have made a point with Honda and did hear the sound in a 2010. At this point it does seem normal, and it may get better with time.

QUESTION: I recently purchased a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3 V/8. Per your suggestion I purchased vented rotors and Hawk brake pads. The truck now has great stopping power. My next step is more engine power without taking the engine apart. What would you suggest?

ANSWER: The most bang for your buck will be a fresh air intake, 160-degree thermostat, computer programmer, and low restriction exhaust. The exhaust is the only place owners get in trouble. A lot of the performance exhaust systems are loud and have a terrible drown sound. The best choice is a Corsa system using a single outlet tailpipe system.

QUESTION: I own a 1981 VW diesel pickup that is now having the engine rebuilt. I want to know about the use of synthetic oil when the engine is complete. I was thing about Shell Rotella. What are your thoughts?

ANSWER: The problem with the older diesel engines is that they are very dirty burning engines. The oil gets contaminated from excess diesel fuel that does not get burned in a short time. I recommend the use of regular oil and frequent changes like a regular gas engine. Use a good quality diesel oil for this vehicle.

Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360, or e-mail ocm@cnc.com.