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lou's garage

I just bought a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan and put on winter tires and rims for first time. But the tire pressure monitoring system flashes for a minute after I start my vehicle, then stays on. I know the tire pressure is good. Don’t think winter tires have sensors in them. How do I get the light to stop flashing? – Kevin

During my research about your TPMS question, I came across websites that claim their products can provide a solution. They attack the perceived problem with a custom rewrite of your vehicle’s on-board computer, or a battery-powered emulator to simulate the signal from the missing wheel sensors.

That being said, I have no experience with these products, and I highly doubt that, even if they are doable, that they will provide the easiest solution. I imagine a piece of well-placed black electrical tape has become the tool of choice for those searching for a no-fuss solution.

But the only way I recommend for getting the light to stop flashing is installing and programming the required sensors in your winter wheels. Given that a variety of cost-effective aftermarket wheel sensors are available, this seems like the least painful option.

Today’s drivers rarely check their tire pressures; that is a thing of the past. While it is not mandatory to have a functioning TPMS system in Canada, having a fully operational TPMS offers peace of mind and just makes more sense.

While at the shop for maintenance, my 2014 Cadillac ATS struck a deer and then left the roadway. After the repair, the car won’t drive straight. I’ve had it aligned by three different shops, and they all say it is within spec. When I let go of the steering wheel, it jerks to the right and then veers to the left. I have to constantly fight to keep the car straight on the road. What could cause this? – James

You haven’t detailed the severity of the damage from when it went off the road, so I am limited in what I can offer, but here is one possibility. Given the vehicle jerks one way and then veers in the opposite direction, that leads me to believe something is binding in the front suspension.

Caster, the angle designed into the front suspension of every vehicle, forces the steering wheel to return to centre when released. If something is damaged in the steering pivot system, the wheel will not return to centre as intended.

Even a minor drag will lead to a vehicle needing constant driver input for straight-line operation. Another term used for this issue is memory steer.

A suspension damaged in this manner will not show up on an alignment and requires further investigation to locate the source of the trouble. Go back and insist that they contact the insurance company and re-open the claim.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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