Vehicle is due for expensive service

Dear Doctor: I own a 2006 Honda Pilot with 90,000 miles and the dealer said I need to have the timing belt replaced along with having the valves adjusted. The cost of this service is over $1,000. The engine runs fine and there is no engine valve noise. What are your thoughts on this service?


Dear George: I do agree with the dealer on both the timing belt and valve adjustment. With 90,000 miles on the Pilot, the timing belt is actually past due for service. As for the valve adjustment, you will not hear any valve noise, because based on my experience servicing Honda V-6 engines, I have found that the exhaust valves actually get tighter as they wear. This often results in a slightly rough idle as well as engine misfire, causing the “check engine” light to illuminate. I would also recommend replacing the spark plugs and PCV valve at this time of service. This would also be a good time to change the coolant and all driveline fluids. This is a costly service, but very much worth the expense.

Dear Doctor: I have a 2000 Chevrolet Camaro SS. The gas gauge needle goes way below the “E” mark. Is the issue with the sending unit or the gauge?


Dear Don: Bring the car to a shop that is AAA-approved and employs ASE-certified technicians. They will connect a professional scan to look at the fuel level circuit and see what the computer is seeing prior to the signal reaching the dash cluster. A common problem with this vehicle is the sending unit in the gas tank.

Dear Doctor: The tire pressure light on my 2008 GMC is blinking for the umpteenth time. I check the tire pressure and keep them at the recommended inflation, yet the light doesn’t go off. My mechanic said he doesn’t know why it is blinking, but he did some jiggling of things and the light went off. On the way home from his shop the light displayed again and has been on ever since. What is your advice? Shirley

Dear Shirley: Tire pressure monitors have a battery in them, (small battery the size of a dime or smaller) and last five to eight years. The technician needs to have a tire pressure monitor test tool, such as a Bartec brand tool. The tool can check the signal emitting from each tire and register new replacement monitors. On some vehicles, like your GMC vehicle, you can look on the dash cluster and see each tire for pressure. The use of a professional scan tool in the “vehicle specific mode” can check the body control module for any stored trouble fault codes.

Dear Doctor: My General Motors vehicle has 100,000 miles. The hoses still feel and look fine. Back when we used to have the green antifreeze I had to change the hoses about every two years to ensure that a trip wouldn’t be interrupted with a rupture. I have been told that the new Dexcool doesn’t break down the hose material like the green stuff did. Is there an age or mileage you would recommend all the hoses be changed? John

Dear John: I have seen coolant hoses last 10-plus years. Unlike the old days of failure after three years, the rubber used in today’s hoses are much more superior. The coolant is much less acidic than the old coolant and includes more neutralizers and rust inhibitors. A coolant flush every five years is a good idea and it will also remove contamination.

Dear Doctor: I own a 2013 Honda Accord with just 19,600 miles. A few weeks ago my rearview camera would not work. The screen was black. The problem is intermittent and the dealer could not find the problem. I called Honda and they did not have anything either. Any ideas would be appreciated. Ronald

Dear Ronald: With new vehicles and their integrated multifunction touchscreen systems there is no way to determine the fault, unless there is a trouble fault code or the system completely stops working. In time there will be more diagnostic codes and trouble-shooting to follow when these intermittent multifunction touchscreen issues occur.

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Mail questions to: Motor Matters, PO Box 3305, Wilmington, DE 19804


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