Q. We purchased a 2015 Dodge Dart. Was this a dependable automobile to buy for our grandson?

A. It will depend on who you ask. Shopper Stories readers (not the journal itself) gave it a reasonably good report. JD Energy — one of many largest score firms — places the automobile close to the underside of the reliability record. I’d additionally put it close to the underside on reliability based mostly on my experiences with the automobile. However it isn’t all unhealthy information. There are positives. It did effectively in crash testing, so it’s a secure small automobile, and it will get fairly good gasoline economic system. It’s additionally enjoyable to drive. In case you obtained a great deal on the automobile, simply know that there could also be some issues you’ll must cope with. 

Q. I’m contemplating an electrical automobile sooner or later. I do know you’ve pushed among the latest electrical vehicles. What do you consider the Lucid Air? 

A. It’s too early to inform. The specs on the automobile look fairly good. Lucid is providing three years of free charging. In some conditions you may recharge in as little as 20 minutes. The vary (400 miles within the base mannequin) and efficiency are excellent. Security is effectively addressed with a full suite of semi-autonomous driving options. The beginning worth of the automobile is $77,400 and goes as much as $161,000. On the finish of final 12 months, Lucid accomplished its manufacturing unit in Arizona, and there are about 100 prototypes in testing. The final I learn, manufacturing ought to begin within the spring. Let me know in case you purchase one. 

Q. I’m on the lookout for a enjoyable undertaking — perhaps restoring an previous Jeep or dune buggy, or perhaps a equipment automobile. I’m fairly useful with each mechanical gadgets and electrical points. What do you concentrate on doing one thing like this? Is the expense well worth the consequence? I’ve the storage area, and I’m newly retired, so I’ve nothing however time. 

A. A Jeep is a well-liked undertaking. There are elements galore from specialty web sites that solely promote Jeep elements to RockAuto, CARiD, and CarParts.com. Jeeps can endure from body rust. The opposite frequent problem is switch case failure (often from operating mismatched tires). There are many dune buggy initiatives, though with legendary dune buggy builder Bruce Myers passing away this 12 months, these as soon as inexpensive initiatives have appeared to leap in worth. Most are easy as a result of VW Bug parts and easy air-cooled engine. Right here in New England, there are some nice selections. Manufacturing facility-5 has kits for Cobra roadsters, Subaru powered sports activities vehicles, supercars, and a traditional 33 Ford hotrod. Then there’s Smyth Efficiency which sells a equipment that would help you make an Australian-style Ute out of a VW Beetle, Dodge Charger, Audi, or Jeep Cherokee. Anytime you construct or restore something, the reward is priceless. 

Q. I’ve a 2008 Ford E150 van with a small V8 engine and computerized transmission. The truck has about 175,000 miles on it. Final 12 months, earlier than I parked it for the winter, I observed the idle turns into tough because it begins to heat up and the engine will get as much as temperature. If I’m stopped, it virtually feels as if it’ll stall. There’s additionally a bizarre exhaust odor. Aside from this, the van runs fairly effectively and will get about 15 miles per gallon. To this point, there are not any verify engine gentle. Any concepts? 

A. It appears the truck is operating barely lean. This could offer you a slight stumble, tough idle, and an eye-burning exhaust scent, however would nonetheless behave acceptably on the street. I’d search for vacuum leaks across the consumption manifold and the EGR (exhaust fuel recirculation) valve. That valve is also sticking barely open — inflicting the lean-running situations. This automobile is not any enjoyable to work on, so be a bit affected person with the store that works on it.  

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Automobile Physician. He has over 40 years of expertise within the automotive enterprise and is an ASE-certified grasp technician. E-mail your automobile query to [email protected]. Take heed to Automobile Physician on the radio at 10 a.m. each Saturday on 104.9 FM or on-line at northshore1049.com.

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