The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Car Doctor Q&A
Q I recently read an article (not yours) about replacing headlights in a car with LED lights for greater light output. I thought I remembered you writing that LED replacement bulbs were not legal, did that change?
A LED bulbs that replace conventional bulbs are not legal for on-road use. The problem is that they provide more light, but that light tends to be unfocused and adds to glare. The problem is the LED bulb doesn’t match the headlight housing and changes the beam pattern. On my radio program I had Brian Noble, North America marketing manager for Sylvania Automotive who clarified automotive lighting https://www.iheart. com/podcast/256-john-paulcar-doctor-radio-31154855/ episode/april-1st-car-doctorradio-broadcast-75417494/
Q I’m looking for a big SUV for my family not something quite as big as a Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition XL. I have narrowed my choices to the Nissan Armada, GMC Yukon and Toyota Sequoia, any thoughts on these?
A They are all good choices if a large SUV is what you are looking for. In the spirit of full disclosure, I only have driven the 2023 Sequoia a short distance, the hybrid drive seemed to work smoothly but I found the ride a bit stiff. The Armada is a good choice and a bit cheaper than the competition. Recently I evaluated the 2023Chevy Tahoe which is very similar to the GMC Yukon. I found the performance from the big V-8 engine impressive and 10-speed transmission was a great match to the engine. There is seating for up to eight and even in the third-row adults can be comfortable. The second and third rows fold flat, and the cargo space is cavernous. Fuel economy was with the 6.2-liter V-8 was according to the EPA 14 MPG in the city and 18 MPG on the highway. My road test was mostly city driving and I averaged 15.2 MPG according to the on-board computer and premium fuel is recommended. Like all new vehicles it is important to road test the tech and I found all of the controls simple and easy to use. Of the vehicles you are looking at I would put the Chevy Tahoe/yukon, first, Toyota Sequoia second and Nissan armada in third place.
Q I am reading your recent column regarding buying good parts. I watch Eric O faithfully; he seems to buy from NAPA. I don’t have one close to me so I would have to buy online. I did install a front bearing that went bad in only two years and from then on, I will only buy Moog steering parts. I also watch a fellow from Holland. He installed a quality sensor that did not work because the sensor leads were reversed. What are your thoughts of how and where to buy car parts. Thanks for your input and column, I read it every week. Installing good quality parts is important.
A You are correct buying quality parts is important for both safety and reliability. One of my readers has a NAPA store and recently wrote to me and stated, at NAPA the catalog clearly tells if a particular oxygen sensor is the OEM replacement. Whenever possible we only offer an OEM sensor due to issues in the past. He goes on to say the point here is the consumer has to know enough to ask for OEM parts. He also states that he does have some OEM sensors and aftermarket parts so a consumer can buy an OEM sensor from an auto parts store instead of the dealer. When it comes to some parts, call me a little old fashioned but I prefer quality parts from names that have been around for a long time. Moog makes
very good quality steering and suspension parts and for brakes I prefer Bendix and Raybestos.
Q I have a 2015 Camaro SS convertible with less than 30,000 miles. When parking the car more than half the time the car’s key will not release from the ignition. The Camaro has an automatic transmission and I have to rock the shifter from park to drive continuously and at the same time I am pressing and releasing the shifter button until the key comes out. How can I permanently fix this problem?
A The ignition switch in those cars is very fussy and dirt, lint and over applying lubricant can interfere with the ability to remove the key. Check the key for even the slightest damage and clean the grooves. If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the ignition lock.
Q I am interested in a 2023 Lincoln Corsair. Can the engine on/off function be permanently defeated. I read there is a once per start defeat switch, but I would like to get rid of the start/stop feature permanently. Can this be accomplished? A Not legally although in today’s world I am sure some hacker could come up with something. The start/stop feature is designed to aid fuel economy but no since it adds to the EPA MPG rating. Our testing at AAA showed that start/stop systems can save fuel. Using a chassis dynamometer and the EPA fuel economy cycle, these systems can improve fuel economy. Using $3.50 per gallon for gas motorists can, save up to $179 in annual fuel costs, based upon driving 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 20 miles per gallon.