Question: I own a 2006 Honda Element. A few months back I began to notice a rattle noise coming from the bottom rear of the car. I have taken it in to get serviced a couple of times, yet they cannot find anything wrong. The car has been functioning perfectly well, although this rattle will not seem to go away. The rattling is not consistent, but I hear it whenever I drive. If you have any idea or thoughts behind this and can let me know, that would be greatly appreciated.
- C.W., Berlin, Conn.
Answer: This sounds like a classic case of bad sway bar links. We would replace the original links with improved aftermarket links. We usually have good luck with Moog suspension parts.
Q: I have a car with 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels and low-profile tires. I have broken two wheels and needless to say, they are very expensive. My dealer's service manager tells me that I should use the tire pressure (32-36 psi) that is listed for my car even though the car was originally designed with 18-inch wheels and full-size tires. I find this hard to believe. Shouldn't the pressure be greater to keep the wheel from impacting potholes and cracking?
- J.G., Bensenville, Ill.
A: Increasing the tire pressure will not prevent impact damage to your alloy wheels. It is the height of the standard tire that provides a little more protection to road hazards. The service manager is right. Inflate the tires to the specification found on the sticker attached to the driver's door frame. Of course, the other option is to buy a set of 18-inch wheels and matching tires. Put yours on eBay and some poor pothole-pounding guy may need them and get a deal.
Q: I have a 2016 Toyota Camry Special Edition and, unlike the 2013 Camry I owned, it does not have fog lights. Do you know of an aftermarket solution to this issue since it is very difficult seeing low in rainy and foggy conditions and the car came with low-profile tires. It's a great car but fog lights are needed. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
- T.R., Media, Pa.
A: We did an internet search and came up empty for add-on lights specifically for your make and model. We did find some "universal" kits, but they would probably require you to make custom modifications. If ground clearance is an issue, check out the new, low-profile LED lights.
Q: I have a 2013 Chevrolet Traverse. We purchased it new and have 60,000 miles on it. All services have been done on schedule at the dealer. The problem is that the battery-charge indicator is on discharge most of the time and it doesn't matter what speed I am traveling. Nobody in the service department can give me an answer as to why this is happening. I question everyone I can whenever I am there for service. The battery and the alternator always test good. Hope you have an idea what the problem could be.
- P.B., Frankfort, Ill.
A: Since the battery and charging system repeatedly test OK, we have a hunch there may be a problem with the gauge or the wiring to the gauge. That could include any poor or corroded connections.
Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. Send questions along with name and town to Motormouth, Rides, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Fifth Floor, Chicago IL 60611 or firstname.lastname@example.org