Letters: Clunking noise has Silverado owner concerned
By IRA SIEGEL For Sun-Times Media April 10, 2012 4:03PM
Q: I have a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado. At times, when turning a corner and then accelerating, there’s a bad clunk noise. I took it back to the dealer a couple of times and they said it’s normal driveline lash. I can’t believe a $32,000 vehicle would have this type of problem. Please give me some advice. — Norm, Montgomery
A: I am familiar with driveline lash. Generally it’s more noticeable on trucks, especially with four-wheel drive. I checked to see if there were any service bulletins for your truck and didn’t find any. To make sure the amount of backlash present in your vehicle isn’t excessive you probably should go for a second opinion. You may want to try another dealer or a repair facility that specializes in truck repairs.
Q: The last time I brought my 2005 Honda CR-V to the Honda dealer I was told that both the front and rear sway bar links were loose. They quoted me a price of $290 for the front and more than $300 for the rear links.
Can you tell me if this poses a danger to me if not fixed immediately? What is involved in fixing this? Do you think their quotes are reasonable? — Chris, email
A: There’s no real danger if you wait to fix it. The sway bar (or stabilizer bar) and links are used to help keep the vehicle stable while driving, especially at highway speeds and when cornering or making turns. Still, you shouldn’t have any trouble driving until you can afford to repair it.
As for the repairs, the sway bar links are fairly easy to replace. In fact, the labor time guide for your CR-V shows 48 minutes for replacing both front links and another 48 minutes for replacing both rear links.
I called a dealer to find out how much the links cost and was told that the front links are about $35 each and the rear links are about $47 each. So the $590 you were quoted seems too high. The way I figure it, the fronts should cost no more than $190 and the rears should cost no more than $200.
You may want to get a second or third price quote. And you may want to consider an independent repair facility or one that specializes in suspension repairs.
Q: My 1995 Oldsmobile Silhouette has been giving me trouble. It dies when first started and then it will stay running after starting it a second time. Then it runs fine until it gets good and warm. Once fully warmed up, the engine will die, but it will start right back up. Also, sometimes the gauges act erratically while driving on the highway. Do you have any ideas as to what could be wrong? — Dan, Winthrop Harbor
A: Are there any trouble codes stored? Some auto parts stores will check your codes for free. If there are codes stored, they may help in figuring out what could be causing the problem. If there are no codes stored, it could be due to a faulty crankshaft position sensor, ignition module or powertrain control module. You may try using a hair dryer on each of these components with the engine running to see if you can simulate the heat load and get the engine to stall.
Questions for Ira Siegel? Call the Auto Advisor Hotline at (708) 633-6839 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Siegel is an automotive instructor and an automotive service excellence-certified master auto technician.
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