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I have a 2016 VW Golf, 1.8-litre turbo with 50,000 kilometres. It will misfire for a few seconds and then resume normal running, and the EPC warning light will come on. I have had it scanned at the dealer each time, and since the light is off, nothing shows up. After several visits, they made a programming change, but after a few months it recurred. I was able to go to the dealership this time with the light on, and they said the scan gave them info to act on. The injectors were replaced, and after some months I thought it was fine, but I just had a recurrence. It was a little different this time in that, before, the engine would miss, but this time there was a lack of power as if the turbo didn’t engage. The light again went off as before, and the car runs normally. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Many thanks, Wally R

Your Volkswagen’s Electronic Power Control (EPC) system is difficult to explain in only a few words, but it is doing one of its many jobs, which is to limit engine power. The EPC system intervenes when the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) detects a significant fault. Failed fuel injectors would be considered a significant fault. Light misfires usually don’t cause the EPC system to engage, but if they are significant enough, the EPC would limit power, including preventing the turbo from spooling up in an effort to protect the catalytic converter from damage.

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Is it this simple? Who knows, but a Volkswagen Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) # 00 16 02 states that “Fuel quality impacts the operating performance, efficiency and service life of the engine. The use of poor-quality fuels may result in deposit build-up on the fuel injectors and intake valves. This may result in a rough running condition, sporadic misfires or cold-start misfire faults storing in the ECM fault memo.” The TSB also says “Volkswagen recommends Top Tier detergent gasoline with additives that do not contain metal. If Top Tier fuel is not readily available, advise the customer that to help prevent this condition from reoccurring, fuel additive part number G 001780M3 may be used approximately every 3,000 miles (5,000 km) to help keep the fuel injectors and intake valves clean.”


I would like to keep my 2012 GM Equinox for a few more years (185,000 km). I have maintained it mechanically, but rust is creeping in. I took it in when there was a recall for rusting of the inside of doors, and again last year when I noticed the return of the same problem. After much discussion, the dealership repaired the car at no cost to me. Rust is appearing again there and other places. There are bits of rust appearing around the wheel wells where there are minor dents as well.

What can I do to best maintain the car without spending a fortune? I'm no car expert.

Thanks,

Carole

Yes, General Motors issued a recall for rusting doors in the Canadian market only. If I understand you correctly, you have had it repaired twice now at no charge, once under this recall and once under a goodwill clause. You can try again for additional goodwill, but given the age of the vehicle and previous repairs, I doubt GM Canada is going to be swayed to revisit your rust issue. You will need to consult a couple of body shops for rust-repair estimates. Cost will be dependent on how deeply the corrosion has penetrated and unfortunately will likely return again in a couple of years. If you haven’t already, I would strongly suggest you visit a rust-prevention facility. It won’t stop the corrosion but will at least slow it down.


What’s on my radar

I have always thought of myself as part business-owner, part mechanic and part translator. Any experienced service writer will confirm that converting customer complaints into mechanic-speak is somewhat of an undervalued skill. When you head in for service, knowing what you are asking for can help you avoid unnecessary frustration. A commonly confused service request is whether one’s vehicle needs a wheel alignment or a wheel balance.

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So, here are the basics.

When you are driving down the road and you feel a vibration, this means that some rotating item on your vehicle is out of balance. If you pay close attention, you can usually correlate the change in speed with the frequency of the vibration, as an out-of-balance tire will typically get worse the faster you go. A front-tire issue will most commonly result in a steering wheel that hops, while an out-of-balance rear tire can often be felt in the buttocks. This is a situation that can be remedied easily by removing the wheel/tires and putting them in a wheel balancer.

A vehicle that requires the driver to be constantly correcting the steering angle to keep it centered in the lane has a different problem from the above. Diagnosis of this is done by checking to see if all the wheel angles are within factory specifications. If you hit a curb or a large pothole, the angle of the wheels may change. In order for your service provider to help you out with this, they will have to take your complete car and put it on a wheel-alignment machine.

To put it as simply as I can, a vibration in the car should result in a conversation with your service writer about wheel balancing, while a car that drifts or pulls to one side should lead to a conversation about an alignment.

Keep in mind that a vibration that occurs only when you are braking is not the same thing as a wheel-balance issue and usually has something to do with the braking system of the car.

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

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