Q: Here is another 2004 Trailblazer issue. I’ve been getting P0141 codes. My local guy has replaced both O2 sensors twice, and the code keeps coming back within a couple of days. The engine runs fine and I see no ill effects, yet. Where should I go from here?
A: As I have often stated, just changing parts by virtue of a code is guesswork. A half-hour or so looking at the numbers on a scanner will help pinpoint the problem. In this case, a code P0141 refers to the sensor known as bank 1, sensor 2. This sensor is actually a catalytic converter oxygen sensor monitor, and not an oxygen sensor of the raw exhaust. When using a scanner to look at the problem, you should be looking at the wave form and the frequency of zero crossovers to get to the root of the problem.
Q: I have a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan. I like the car very much, except I cannot understand why the front wheels get so stained and hard to clean. The back wheels stay clean; it must be the front brakes that cause it. It has only 22,000 miles, but this has been going on since I bought it new.
A: The problem stems from the brake pads. The dust as the brake pads start to wear is going all over the wheels and taking away from the beauty of your Town & Country. I have been given many brands of brake pads to try on my own SUV, and I am experiencing the same problem you describe on the latest set, which is a highly regarded brand name. When performing brake service on your car, look for a proven brand. You may pay 10 to 20 percent more, but you will get 35,000 miles more of clean and safe braking performance.
Q: I am driving a 2010 RAV4, and I find the low-beam lights inadequate in certain situations. I have seen replacement upgrades for these lamps, but I am hearing that they burn out quickly. Also, I notice that there are several lighting intensities available. (The brighter the light, the more expensive the lamp.) Do you recommend these upgrades?
A: If your RAV4 has daytime running lights that keep the low beams on during day driving, then you absolutely will burn out the lights more quickly. As your headlights are used, they do become duller; that’s a fact. A brighter, whiter, hotter light will burn out even faster. When choosing your headlights, be sure they are legal in all states, as well as the manufacturer warranty.
Car Care Tip: The shop is being flooded lately by head gasket repairs, as well as timing belt breaks causing cylinder head damage. This damage could be avoided by regular maintenance and being observant of your gauges.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.