- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2009

I own a 2009 Hyundai Genesis and have a question concerning the radio. While using the AM frequency in the lower band range 550 to 620 there is a buzz/static sound. This does not happen on FM or XM. The dealer has no idea what the problem is and no solution for the noise. What could be the problem? - Harold

Dear Harold: Late model vehicles do not have good AM filters inside the radio. The companies put more effort into the FM band and satellite service, as well as other video and audio related issues. The AM band is susceptible to interference from all types of electronic magnetic interference. There are some aftermarket filters available at radio installation centers, as well as antenna amplifiers. The lower AM band frequency stations usually have lower power than the middle and upper bands and this can also contribute to static.

Dear Doctor: I own a 2001 Chevrolet Impala 3.8 V/6 with 71,000 miles. The problem is the “traction active” light keeps coming on at intermittent times, such as when I turn the wheel at slow speeds. I had the right front wheel hub replaced, but this did not help. There are no codes in the computer. Do you have any suggestions? - Michael

Dear Michael: A common problem in front-wheel-drive cars is the ABS wire to the front hubs is very tight and can sometimes break the connection, causing this light to come on. Have the technician check the connections at the hub terminal connectors and check for corrosion at both ends.

Dear Doctor: I own a 2003 Buick Park Avenue with 70,000 miles. The problem is the climate control display occasionally goes blank. The dealer said the repair would cost around $1,000. What would you do? - Earl

Dear Earl: I would consider buying a used unit or have your unit sent out to a factory Delco repair center. Electronic dash and instrument displays can be very costly to repair.

Dear Doctor: I own a 2008 Nissan Sentra four-cylinder with 45,000 miles. My gas mileage is only 17-18 mpg city and 20-22 mpg on the highway. The EPA estimate is 23-28 city and 33-38 highway. I have had the car back to the dealer twice and they said the engine was operating in correct parameters. What do you think? - Ron

Dear Ron: There are a few basic checks that need to be done, such as whether the trip odometer is correct, the transmission is shifting into overdrive, the engine temperature reaches normal operating temperature and the engine operates in the closed loop mode. Has a technician test-driven the car with a computer scan tool connected and observed computer sensor operation? These are all things that need to be checked.

Dear Doctor: I own a 2000 Cadillac Catera with only 43,000 miles. The “check engine” light came on. The local repair shop checked the computer and sent me to a national transmission shop. The shop then removed the transmission at a cost of $3,100. After the transmission overhaul the main computer would not accept the needed reprogramming. I had to go to the dealer for a computer replacement at a cost of $1,400. Did the national transmission shop make a costly mistake? - Walter

Dear Walter: I would go back to the transmission shop and speak with the owner about a refund on the transmission repair. If the bill was paid with a credit card you should be able to put the repair in contest. Every day I see the evidence of mechanics who have not followed needed procedures to the actual problem that set the trouble fault code and replaced parts at great cost to the vehicle owners.

Dear Doctor: I recently bought a 2009 Lexus RX350. The problem I have is vibration on cold start when the engine is at fast idle at 1,300 rpm. It goes away as soon as the engine is warm. The service manager says this is a normal condition when the engine is at the fast cold idle speed. Is this normal? - Lloyd

Dear Lloyd: Many of today’s vehicles are designed to idle high cold with the transmission not up-shifting at low engine speed until the engine is warm. This is to reduce emissions and let the engine warm up faster.

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail questions to [email protected] or address them to Auto Doctor, 3 Court Circle, Lakeville, MA 02347

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