QUESTION: I have a 10 year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee. I had to replace the battery and now the car won't run for more than five seconds. It starts OK, there is lots of cranking power, but it shuts down almost immediately every time and a light on the dash says "security." What did I do wrong? - Karl
ANSWER: The light tells the tale. This is indeed a security issue. These vehicles were especially popular with thieves and many were found in containers or on ships bound for new homes overseas. As part of a plan to thwart such activity, the ECM (Engine Control Module) is programmed to allow the engine to start after a major electrical interruption - such as would be the case when a thief cut off power to cancel the alarm system - but shut down unless a security code was entered. See a Chrysler Jeep dealer for the code and procedure - and take the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) located on the lower left of the windshield, with you. While you are talking to them get the code for the radio/audio system as well, most of these by all manufacturers are scrambled when the power is cut off so they won't be of use if ripped out of one vehicle and installed in another. A code is required to allow them to be used after the battery has been disconnected.
I drive a 2002 BMW 3-Series. I love the balance and handling of the rear wheel drive but for the last couple of winters have noticed a degradation in grip during winter, especially when trying to climb hills. I know we had more snow in the metro area last winter than normal but sense this is not the main reason for my problem. l think my winter tires may be losing their grip. I bought a set of Dunlop Winter Sport M2 snow tires and wheels new when I bought the car. It looks like there is about 30,000 Km of tread wear left on them so I'd like to put the best pair on the front this winter and buy a pair of new winter tires for the rear. Any suggestions? Dave
ANSWER: I'd hesitate to recommend using any of the six year-old tires. They may look good, but have undoubtedly lost much of their effectiveness due to age and hardening of the compound. If necessary, you are right in that new ones should go on the rear wheels but you would then have quite a discrepancy in traction and ability - and have put tires you know don't have much traction on the wheels that provide steering direction. Are you sure you want to do that? The bottom line is that, despite their looks, they are old and due for replacement. I'm hesitant to recommend specific manufacturers or models because each tire has some distinct advantages or properties. The differences in design and ability since you bought your last set is amazing - any of these will be a quantum leap. In alphabetical order here are some to consider when you start shopping - and remember - winter tires are in short supply so get out there early. B F Goodrich Winter Slalom, Bridgestone Blizzack, Canadian Tire Nordic Ice, Dunlop Winter Sport, Goodyear Eagle Ultra-Grip, Michelin X-Ice or the new Pilot Sport Alpin, Yokohama Ice Guard or W-Drive. The latter is a new concept - a winter-rated tire you can leave on the car year-round.