Q. I have a Pontiac G6 GT, 2009. When I start the car, the speedometer needle tops the 140 mark then returns to 0.The engine doesn't rev up, but I'm concerned. I've asked friends and the dealer if this is normal and have gotten different answers. My dealer's service mechanic says it's normal in the Pontiac G6. He told me that when starting the car, it checks the system and that's why the needle goes to 140. My friends say no, this is not normal and there may be a problem with the car. Can you help?
A: This is normal for your car. This is the speedometer calibrating when the key comes on. It's a self-calibration that makes the speedometer and all gauges in the car as accurate as possible.
Q: Our new Acura has a computerized maintenance program that determines the time to change oil, oil filter, rotate tires, etc., depending on driving habits. Acura's maintenance handbook said oil change times could be as high as 10,000 miles. For more than 40 years I've been changing oil and filters on our autos every 3,000 to 4,000 miles and rotating and balancing every other change. It's hard to think differently. Another question, Our TSX is a four-cylinder, six-speed manual transmission. Acura calls for 0/20w motor oil. Would synthetic oil or a thicker velocity be a better choice as the engine has a timing chain and not a belt?
A: I am like you concerning oil changes, I change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles and rotate my tires every other time. I also like to keep my vehicles running at least 250,000 miles. So far, this method has saved me a lot in major engine failures. Besides changing the oil, at every 35,000 miles I flush my transmission, brake fluid and coolant. Fluids are susceptible to pick up contaminants and water, and when they do, this will decrease the lubricating qualities of the fluids and cause component failures. Even with your manual transmission, the fluids should still be changed periodically.
As far as the 0W-20 oil concerns, stay with the manufacturer-specified oil for two reasons. First, to keep your car under the warranty, and second, because you will get the best fuel mileage. A thicker oil will make the engine work harder, which will result in more fuel used.
Q: We have a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe, V6, all-wheel drive with 75,000 miles on it. My wife tells me that when she backs out of a parking space turning the wheel to the right, the car stops and won't move backward. I tried it several times and it was fine, but on the last try it felt like the brake was on and the car stopped. She said she heard noises, but I didn't (hearing loss). The front end seems fine at all speeds (no vibrations or pulling). Do you have any idea what is causing this?
A: I would pull the front CV axles and take a close look at the outer joints.
Car Care Tip: Even with the mild winter we just went through, there was still the presence of road salt. When going through the car wash, pay the extra two or three dollars for an under-car wash to remove salt residue.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. Write him care of the Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930, or send email to scan firstname.lastname@example.org.