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Automotive Q&A with the Beaverton Car Guy

| January 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Larry Ferguson

If you’ve got an auto question, I’ve got an auto answer!

Q: Hello, I have a 1 year old vehicle and I have a musty smell whenever my heater-defrost, or Air Conditioner is in operation. Is there an easy fix for this?

A: Yes, this is very simple indeed. Newer vehicles are equipped with interior cabin filters, located in the dash area, usually behind the glove box area. This filter catches dust & other item that travel inside the cabin of the vehicle. This is a simple item to replace and if you get one from the Dealer, instruction on how to replace it will be included.

Q: My 2003 Dodge Caravan has a squealing nose that is consistent with engine rotation when I start it for the first time of the day, or after it has been sitting for more than a couple of hours. Can you please tell me what this noise is, and what needs to be done?

A: This noise is coming from the serpentine belt assembly, typically when the serpentine belt becomes worn it gets a glaze on it, and this is where the noise comes from. I will note that on this vehicle no matter which engine option it came with, there is an idler pulley, that has a bearing in it. This idler pulley is made of plastic, and the bearing is sealed. This means that the bearing cannot be lubricated. It is a very good idea to always replace the serpentine belt, as well as the idler pulley at the same time. This vehicle also has a pulley that is a spring loaded tensioner, also with a plastic pulley. Both Pulley’s and the belt should be inspected. This system (serpentine) means that there is only one belt that runs everything off the front of the engine. In the event the belt, or either pulley fails, you will no doubt be stranded on the side of the road. Poor design, and quite noisy once the vehicle gets about 30,000 miles on it. I recommend checking these items during routine servicing.

Q: I have noticed on my VW that even in warm weather the windshield is fogging up. Now that the weather has begun to change to colder weather, it seems to betting worse. What is this and is it an easy repair?

A: From the description you have given, this sounds like the heater core. The heater core is inside the cabin behind the dashboard. It is a costly repair. This is a common issue with vehicles with higher mileage. The heater core is a part that looks very much like a small radiator, the engine coolant-antifreeze circulates through the heater core which allows air from the blower motor, or heater or Air conditioning fan, to blow air across and through it in order to heat the vehicle’s cabin. The reason the windshield is fogging is because the heater core is beginning to leak. The heater core would require the entire dashboard of the vehicle being removed in order to gain access to it. This repair is very costly, and in some cases is more expensive than the net worth of the vehicle, depending on the age and mileage. I would suggest getting more than one estimate on this repair.

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Category: Community

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