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Technology A Maserati with squeaking brakes and an Olds with starter problems

I recently purchased a 2015 Maserati Ghibli on which the dealer installed new Brembo brake pads and rotors in front and back before delivery. These brakes are squeaking really loud when slowing down to a stop. I brought the car back to the dealer and they inspected the car and told me this was normal for these type of performance brakes, which I find hard to believe. Your thoughts? – Frank

I do understand that these noises are annoying and cheapen the overall driving experience.

An 1800-kilogram performance sedan with 345 horsepower has to have brakes that are capable of aggressively stopping it. Therefore, Maserati has to include a brake package complimenting the driving conditions that they believe their vehicles will be driven under. This strategy includes large diameter brake rotors with generous heat dissipation characteristics and brake pads that are much harder and more aggressive than a normal family sedan. It is these hard brake pads that are the root of your noise. Bed-in or break-in procedures for new brakes includes medium intensity stops, combined with more aggressive stops that heat-cycle and mate the pads to the rotors. Your Maserati will require much higher amounts of heat to complete this process. As this is a common complaint, I would hit up one of the many Maserati forums for some tips and tricks on how to effectively complete this process. Alternatively, you can have your dealer try to source a set of pads that might offer noise solutions, but keep in mind you will likely be sacrificing brake performance.

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My 1998 Oldsmobile 98 has starting problems. In cold, occasionally it fires and stops. Starts on next try. When turned off at operating temperature, sometimes it won’t start. Cools down and restarts. Is it fuel filter, crankshaft sensor, coils or fuel pump? – Evans P

Vehicles of this age will typically have increased variables as the multitude of aged, original parts can add an extra layer of difficulty. On the plus side though, the technology used is basic compared to today’s standards.

Any combustion engine needs fuel, spark and compression to function. The first step in diagnosing any no-start situation is to determine which one of these three items is missing. Since it runs normally most of the time, we can assume that the engine has reasonable compression. This leaves you with deciphering whether the issue is fuel or ignition related. The easiest first step would be to buy a simple spark tester and keep it in the car, to be used for a quick field test done at the time of your no start condition. If spark is present, then by process of elimination we know that you are likely looking at a fuel pump or fuel supply issue. If no spark is available, then things can get a little more complicated. You will now have to determine whether it’s an ignition item, like a coil or ignition module, or if it’s an item that controls the ignition module such as the computer or any engine sensor. In the very least knowing whether it is ignition or fuel related may help a repair shop with their diagnosis.

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