Niagara Gazette

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August 22, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Indication of a blown head gasket

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — •••

MARK FROM CAMDEN, N.J.: I own a 2001 Toyota Avalon with 81K miles. About 20K I had the brakes changed to long-lasting, heavy-duty brakes. When I step on the brakes the car stops fine, but the front end shimmies. What’s causing this shimmy?

TOM: Check the brake calipers to see if they are sticking. Also, check to see if there is a blocked rubber brake hose. Both of these conditions could cause the brakes to stay applied with your foot off the brake pedal, which would cause the rotors to heat up and warp. Rotor warpage causes run-out, resulting in pedal pulsation. Also check for worn inboard CV Joints, which could cause the pulsation as well.

•••

JEAN FROM DALLAS: I have a problem with my “service engine” light. Every time I fill the vehicle with gas the “service engine” light comes on. After driving the car for several miles the light goes off. I have taken it to the dealer many times but they say nothing is wrong. What could cause this problem?

TOM: It sounds like there’s a problem with the gas tank vent valve, or the gas cap seal, or the evaporative emissions system. Go to the shop immediately after filling the vehicle when the light is on so that they can pull a code for diagnosis. Or you can schedule to leave the vehicle with the shop for a few days. Make sure the gas tank is low so they have to fill it. When the light comes on, they can scan for a code and track down the problem. Best to you.

•••

JOSH FROM SAGINAW, M.I.: I just replaced the drum brakes on my ‘85 Jeep CJ-7. I keep hearing a cyclical sliding noise (not squealing or grinding, but something is definitely touching) when I drive at all speeds. Also, the driver side drum overheats excessively to the point where I won’t drive the vehicle. I have tried adjusting the brakes significantly to see if the shoes were too close to the drum, but that hasn’t helped much. Do you know what would cause this noise and what I can do about it?

TOM: Check the emergency brake cable on the side that’s overheating. It sounds like the cable has seized, causing the brake to stay applied. Other conditions that cause brakes to hang up are worn return springs, loose anchor springs, and leaking wheel cylinders. Good luck.

‘Til next time ... Keep Rollin’

"America's Car Show" with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

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