I recently bought a 2011 Hyundai Elantra and was never told that the car did not have a spare tire or doughnut or anything like it. Instead of a tire, there is a kit-type setup of a pump and something like a sealant. When I bought the car the salesman failed to mention this unique circumstance.
QUESTION: I recently bought a 2011 Hyundai Elantra and was never told that the car did not have a spare tire or doughnut or anything like it. Instead of a tire, there is a kit-type setup of a pump and something like a sealant. When I bought the car the salesman failed to mention this unique circumstance. Needless to say, the first week that I had the car I had a blowout ,which tore the tire rendering this kit worthless. There is a space in the floor in the trunk area for one, but these models do not have spares. Is there a company where I can purchase a wheel/tire so I will not have this situation happen again? I had to wait for over two hours for a tow since I had no spare! Is it true that Elantras sold in Canada have spares/doughnuts?
ANSWER: You are not alone with not having a spare tire in the truck or under a minivan. As for the salesman not telling you about not having a spare tire, I personally think it was an oversight. Three of my cars do not have a spare tire, just the tire repair kit. Check to make sure a full size tire will fit in the spare tire well area before you buy a spare tire. I would go online to tirerack.com for a spare tire and wheel. As I read your letter I have a 2011 Elantra Limited so I opened the trunk and no spare tire either. A look on the window sticker and no mention of a spare tire. I would have to say that this car, like all cars in this class, should have a spare tire.
QUESTION: I have a 2000 Olds Alero (four-cyliner, 2.4 liter) that has 138,000 miles. I am the original owner. The car runs fine and is well maintained. In the last few months I have heard what sounds like a metal to metal scraping sound from the front when I apply the brakes. I have had the brakes checked by two different shops and they are OK. One of the mechanics said it could be a worn bushing given the age of the car. What do you think, correct diagnosis? If it’s a worn bushing how much do you think the repair will cost? If I don’t get it fixed will it eventually damage the car?
ANSWER: You need to get a third opinion, then have the technician pull the wheels and check the brake pad and rear shoes if equipped. Today’s brake friction material does not have any asbestos, which had a quieting feature and also acted as a lubricant to braking. The friction material used today has either ceramic or metallic material imbedded into the friction material. This friction material will cause some noise under some conditions, and in most cases there is no safety concerns.
QUESTION: My 2004 Mountaineer has 85,000 trouble-free miles, but recently after filling up and topping off the tank one night the engine ran fine for 25 miles then the next morning when starting the engine misfired and the service engine light came on within 10 miles. My mechanic installed new plugs and wires after reading PO304, cylinder #4 misfire and PO316 engine misfire on start up first 100 revolutions. The evaporative system vapor pressure is 16382 inches water, fuel pressure is 40 psi, cat temp is 770 degrees and the EGR error is zero percent. I have driven 500 miles and the engine continues to misfire with the service engine light returning after all attempts to correct the problem. The misfire can be felt at all speeds, but the engine never stalls except when using the auto start, and then it stalls three times before failing. I added 20 ounces of Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner and my mechanic has hit a wall. Do you think the fuel canister for the evap system could be at fault or the fuel injector for #4 cylinder? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
ANSWER: Before anyone can diagnose the problem, a lot of checking has to be done with a professional scan tool. The technician will monitor fuel trim and oxygen sensor voltage. Next a look at the sparkplug color. A full engine performance test including an injector balance test. There is no magic wand to check the source of the misfire. I can tell you that I have replaced a lot of fuel injectors in a variety of vehicles.
QUESTION: I am interested in buying an extended warranty for my 2006 BMW with 105,000 miles. I have seen many commercials on the TV and heard some on the radio. These commercials say that the vehicle is covered from front to back. I know you operate two repair shops. What’s your input on these warranties? Does your shop accept these warranties?
ANSWER: Have you ever heard the saying if it sounds too good too be true, it’s not true? Welcome to some of the worst ads you could ever buy into. Some of these aftermarket warranty companies have such small legal print that is very part replacement specific. Recently I had a vehicle with one of these warranties that had the worst coverage I had ever seen. The parts that were covered, the company wanted to fly in an aftermarket (not original) quality part. They also limit the labor rate and would not pay the shop labor rate and actual time required on a vehicle that all parts have rust buildup on. I did make all repairs as needed and the owner had to pay the difference in the actual bill and the insurance payment. Another place to be very careful on buying an extended warranty is a used car dealer. When I see a used car and the customer asks about an extended warranty, I suggest they call the local AAA office for any company that advertises in the monthly AAA magazine. Please remember again, if sounds too good be true, it probably is.
Junior Damato writes weekly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.