Saturn VUE owner is tired of its shake, rattle and roll

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: February 7, 2014 - 9:52 PM

Q: I have a 2004 four-cylinder Saturn VUE with 65,000 miles. It feels like the car will tear apart when I hit a large bump. Is this normal or do I have other problems?

A: The most obvious suspects are the shock absorber/struts. Whether a separate shock absorber or built into a MacPherson strut assembly, these hydraulic devices are designed to dampen, absorb and control up/down movements of the suspension. They control load/weight transfer through the chassis and soften the impact of sudden bumps on passengers. If you are beginning to anticipate and brace for the impact of bumps, the shocks are significantly worn or there are loose suspension components.

How can you test for worn shocks? Well, in the “good ol’ days,” you could jump on the bumper at each corner of the vehicle and count how many times it moved up and down. Unfortunately, that’s not a particularly valid test with modern vehicles.

Today, a close visual inspection for leaking hydraulic fluid from a shock absorber or strut is the first test. A light “haze” of dampness on the shock itself is not confirmation of failure, but fluid soaking the lower half of the shock/strut and surrounding parts, or dripping from the unit does. Checking for worn or loose mounting bushings in the suspension and strut mounts, and worn upper bearing plates can also identify causes for poor ride and handling.

Here’s today’s reality. If you plan to keep a typical mainstream, average-priced vehicle for 150,000 miles, anticipate replacing the shocks/struts at roughly “half-life” — around 75,000 miles.

One additional thought — has the vehicle been involved in a significant crash? If so, residual damage, poor quality repairs or bent suspension/steering components could be a factor.

Q: Our 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe has the 2.7-liter V6. Everytime we fill the fuel tank, the engine floods, making it a hard to start and keep running properly. It takes a few minutes to overcome this problem. We have tried partially filling the tank but that didn’t have any effect.

A: Focus on the EVAP system — evaporative emissions control system. As you fill the tank, fuel vapor is collected in the charcoal canister. When you start the engine, the ECM opens the purge control solenoid valve, which applies manifold vacuum to the canister to mix the trapped vapor with air and draw it into the combustion chambers to burn.

If this valve is leaking or stuck open, or if the canister is filled with liquid fuel from overfilling the fuel tank, the engine may flood during refueling. A scan tool can identify specific faults with the EVAP system and valves.

Q: I have a 2008 Honda Pilot with 68,000 miles. Recently the “Check engine” light illuminated and a local shop read a P0420 code. This is “Rear bank catalyst efficiency below threshold.” This is my third Honda, each having been driven 10 years and over 100,000 miles without a catalytic converter problem. In fact, Honda’s warranty on the converter is eight years/80,000 miles. In doing research, it appears this code is not unusual on many cars. I have learned that it may not be the catalytic converter, but rather something about the fuel-air mixture or exhaust being abnormal. I want to take this to the Honda dealer and would appreciate any advice on what to say to them in case the service writer just wants to replace the converter.

A: Honda’s troubleshooting guide for the P0420 DTC fault code includes a specific note indicating that poor fuel quality can generate this code, and to troubleshoot and clear any stored oxygen sensor codes before proceeding. Their diagnostic tests involve driving the car under specific conditions while monitoring the OBD status. The results can be “passed/intermittent failure, or failed.” If the final result is “failed,” have the specific converter in question replaced under the federal (not Honda) eight-year/80,000-mile emissions warranty.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 12:05 PM
Detroit
Philadelphia 12:05 PM
Houston
St. Louis 12:05 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:05 PM
Tampa Bay
NY Yankees 12:05 PM
Pittsburgh
Chicago Cubs 2:05 PM
San Francisco
Los Angeles 2:05 PM
Chicago WSox
San Diego 2:05 PM
Seattle
Cleveland 2:05 PM
Cincinnati
Milwaukee 2:05 PM
LA Angels
Oakland 2:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Texas 2:05 PM
Kansas City
Colorado 2:10 PM
Arizona
NY Mets 4:05 PM
Washington
Boston 6:05 PM
Minnesota
Toronto 6:05 PM
Baltimore
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 9:30 PM
Portland
Calgary 6:00 PM
Boston
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Washington
Toronto 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Dallas 6:30 PM
Florida
NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Nashville
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Morgan State 3:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Niagara 4:00 PM
Siena
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Navy 6:00 PM
Colgate
Temple 6:00 PM
East Carolina
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Lafayette
American Univ 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Wisconsin 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Arkansas 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Morehead State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
North Florida
Southern Ill 6:05 PM
Missouri State
Texas State 6:30 PM
Appalachian St
SC State 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 6:30 PM
Coppin State
Middle Tennessee 6:30 PM
FIU
Texas-Arlington 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Georgia State 7:00 PM
ULM
Marshall 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Rice 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Grambling St
Alabama A&M 7:30 PM
Jackson State
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:30 PM
Nicholls
Portland State 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Southern U 7:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
TX A&M-CC
SE Louisiana 7:45 PM
New Orleans
California 8:00 PM
Arizona
Eastern Ill 8:00 PM
Belmont
Memphis 8:00 PM
Connecticut
VA Commonwealth 8:00 PM
Davidson
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Marist 8:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northwestern St 8:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
North Texas 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 8:00 PM
Washington
Idaho 8:00 PM
Weber State
Abilene Christian 8:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Eastern Wash 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Bradley 8:35 PM
Drake
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Long Beach State
UC Riverside 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 10:00 PM
Washington St
Monmouth 68 2nd Half 0:41
Canisius 52
Wake Forest 5 1st Half 16:01
(22) Syracuse 12
Saint Louis 10:30 AM
VA Commonwealth
Saint Peters 10:30 AM
Rider
UNC-Asheville 11:00 AM
Liberty
UNC Greensboro 11:00 AM
(17) Chattanooga
Michigan State 11:30 AM
Michigan
Arkansas 12:00 PM
Ole Miss
Manhattan 12:30 PM
Niagara
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Richmond
Virginia 1:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Campbell 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Belmont
Morgan State 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Furman 1:15 PM
Samford
Oregon 1:30 PM
Washington St
Indiana 1:55 PM
(23) Rutgers
Pepperdine 2:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Auburn 2:25 PM
(18) Texas A&M
Morehead St 3:00 PM
Tennessee St
George Mason 3:30 PM
Saint Josephs
Western Carolina 3:30 PM
East Tenn St
Arizona 4:00 PM
UCLA
Texas State 4:00 PM
Appalachian St
TX-Arlington 4:00 PM
Georgia Southern
SC State 4:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 4:30 PM
Coppin State
Portland 4:30 PM
Santa Clara
Norfolk State 4:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 4:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Central Arkansas 5:00 PM
Nicholls
Houston Baptist 5:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Radford
Georgia 5:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
Marshall
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 5:15 PM
ULM
Sam Houston St 5:30 PM
Lamar
SE Louisiana 5:30 PM
New Orleans
Northwestern St 5:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Alabama A&M 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Grambling
Ark-Pine Bluff 5:30 PM
Miss Valley St
Southern U 5:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Wofford 5:45 PM
Mercer
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
La Salle 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Illinois 6:00 PM
Nebraska
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Rice
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Oakland
Missouri State 6:05 PM
Indiana State
Georgia Tech 7:00 PM
(15) North Carolina
Presbyterian 7:00 PM
High Point
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
UAB
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
North Texas
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Bradley 7:05 PM
Drake
Vanderbilt 7:30 PM
(12) Kentucky
Colorado 8:00 PM
USC
San Francisco 8:00 PM
Pacific
FIU 8:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
Weber State 8:00 PM
Idaho
Purdue 8:25 PM
Minnesota
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Hawaii 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Northern Ariz 9:00 PM
Portland State
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Utah 10:30 PM
Washington
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close