- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008

Q. I own a 1998 Oldsmobile. The Daytime Running Light on the right side keeps burning out. I have replaced four bulbs this year. What do you advise?

A: Check the bulb socket. I have seen many partly burnt sockets. Make sure you do not touch the bulb head with your fingers. I recommend you buy a high-quality bulb. I see a lot of cheap bulbs made out of the country that have a very short life. Make sure you are buying the correct heavy-duty bulb at the parts store.

Q: I own a 2003 Nissan Maxima with 44,000 miles. The inner axle seal was leaking on the transaxle. The technician said he could try and replace the seal but it may not work. I had them replace the seal hoping that it would work, but it did not. The next step was a Nissan factory rebuilt transmission at a replacement cost of $3,600 with a 1-year/12,000-mile warranty. The car has always been serviced as recommended by Nissan. I do not know if I did the right thing by having the dealer replace the transmission.

A: There is no question that the cost of a complete transmission is expensive. Without the repair the car is worthless. The cost of the repair is cheap compared to the cost of a new replacement car. As for going to the dealer vs. an independent shop, that decision is completely up to you on what makes you most comfortable. It is my opinion you did the right thing on the replacement.

Q: I own a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu with 71,000 miles. Occasionally, the anti-theft light illuminates and will stay on until I shut the car off and restart it. The dealer said it is a malfunction in the computer and the cost would be just under $500 for the repair. They also said I could get stranded unless I get it repaired. My local mechanic said the same thing and quoted me the same price for the repair. What do you think?

A: I recommend the technician first check the body control for fault codes, and then follow the trouble flow chart path for the source of the problem. Indeed, there is a possibility that the anti-theft system could prevent the engine from starting if it were to totally fail. The ignition cylinder (where the key goes into) needs to read the key in order for the engine to start.

Q: I am the original owner of a 1995 Oldsmobile with only 46,700 miles. Five months after my purchase, it started to develop oil leaks; everything from the oil pan, oil pump drive O-ring to the intake manifold gasket, all within four years. Now the problem is starting all over again and it will cost $1,000 to seal up. I do not drive a lot and do not know what to do. What do you suggest?

A: I would get a second opinion from a different shop. With such low miles and your limited driving, do the leaks warrant repair again?

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. E-mail questions to [email protected] or mail questions to: Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347

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