- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2008

Q: I recently traded my 2002 Cadillac DeVille for a 2008 STS V-6 with rear-wheel drive. I have owned seven Cadillacs over the years. This car rides like a truck.

The dealer checked the tire pressure and found it was 4 pounds over specs. They adjusted the pressure, but the car still rides hard. They said nothing more can be done. I went to another Cadillac dealer and they said the ride is normal and that I should test-drive a DTS. I test drove a new DTS and found the ride to also be hard. What can I do?

A:Many of today’s vehicles have a firm ride. The ride in the DTS is smoother than the than the STS. Your 2002 DeVille suspension system had six years of wear and tear and would be softer. You can make a tire size change to a larger sidewall. This will require a different smaller size rim. You will want to acquire the same overall tire diameter of the original tire.

Q: I own a 1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra with 72,000 miles, which I purchased in 2004. The previous owner said he had a problem with the rear passenger door lock that was repaired at $450. Last week both front and rear passenger doors would not open. The dealer said that both latches needed to be replaced at a cost of $600 each. I had them leave the door panel off so I could get the door to open. I want to get the parts from a salvage yard. Have you heard of faulty door latches?

A: I have seen a lot of failed door latches on many makes and models. A lot of latches include the electric door lock actuator and the switch for the interior light. I do not think you will have any luck at a salvage yard for this particular part.

Q: I own a 2004 Buick Rainier with only 17,500 miles. When I drive it for an hour or more the speedometer stops and goes to zero. One dealer said the problem is in the dash cluster while another said it is the computer. What do you advise?

A:Did either dealer check for trouble fault codes? Ask the dealer or a repair shop to hook up a scan tool so you can take the vehicle on a road test. When the speedometer fails you just push the record button on the scan tool and go back to the service shop. The technician can look at the recorded scan information and make the correct decision on the repair.

Q: I just leased a 2008 Infiniti G35x. The car has Xenon headlights and I would like to have Daytime Running Lights. I have contacted Infiniti customer service (U.S. and Canada) and got no answers. What are my choices?

A: There are aftermarket companies that offer Daytime Running Light wiring kits. The kit would allow the installation to work with the high beams at 50 percent power. You can also install an aftermarket set of Piaa driving lights. It would be great if your car were rewired to simply use a DRL relay like the vehicles in Canada. Get online for additional research.

Q: I just purchased a 2008 Toyota Avalon. The owner’s manual and the dealer both state not to change the oil, until I have reached 5,000 miles on the odometer. I never heard of this. What is the reason? I always change my own oil and use Toyota oil filters only. Can I use an aftermarket oil filter without voiding the warranty?

A:Some automotive companies use a break-in oil with their own additives and want it left in for a certain amount of miles. This will actually help the vehicle break-in process. As for the factory oil filter, I think you can use the brand you like that meets or exceeds the factory warranty.

Q: I own a 1996 T-Bird that keeps blowing a 10 amp fuse for the power door locks, power mirrors and interior lights. I do not want to put in a bigger fuse for fear of melting wires. What do you suggest?

A:The best way to approach short circuits is to start disconnecting one item in the circuit at a time. Somewhere there is wire grounding out and is a defective device in the circuit. Never put a larger amp fuse in the fuse box.

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. E-mail questions to info@motormatters.biz or mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347.

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