Niagara Gazette

Features

June 6, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Timing belt versus the timing chain

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — •••

SAL FROM THE BRONX: I own a Cadillac CTS 2011 with 1,837 miles. When should I change the oil?

TOM: I would change the oil and filter now, and then change it according to the OLM (Oil Life Monitor) thereafter. Make sure you use only 5W30 motor oil with the “dexos” designation. This is the only acceptable motor oil for use in this engine as per GM. Using another oil will result in loss of factory warranty coverage in the event of an engine failure. Success to you.

•••

DAVE FROM WEST VIRGINIA: I bought a used 2005 Stratus, 3.0L V6 with 42,000 miles. I am very impressed with the performance from such a small engine. How reliable and long lasting are these cars? I have searched and can’t find any information about the car, good or bad. I had a ‘94 Ford Explorer with over 250,000 mile on it that ran great until the head cracked. Can I expect to get the same longevity from my Dodge?

TOM: This car is pretty much trouble free. Aside from a few minor glitches with wipers smearing and a few engine trouble codes due to a need for software updates to the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) the vehicle platform seems to be trouble free. With proper maintenance according to factory specs (following the severe service schedule) you should get many years out of this little gem.

•••

JACKIE FROM BILLINGS, MONT.: I own a 2004 PT Cruiser (manual transmission) with about 81,000 miles. It won’t shift into reverse at all, whether the motor is on or off. All of the other gears shift fine. I did a little research on the Internet and the only similar problem I found was on a 2001 model. Their diagnosis was either a bad shifting cable or a linkage problem. A friend looked in the Chilton book and told me that the car has a hydraulic clutch and there should not be a linkage problem. By now you can see that I really don’t know much about cars. In the past I have been raked over the coals by mechanics and I can’t afford that again. I know I am going to have to take the car to a transmission shop but I’d like to go with some knowledge under my belt. Please help me if you can.

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