Q: I had a flat on my Grand Cherokee last week that couldn't be fixed. I was getting close to needing a new set of tires, so I had all four replaced. I also had a four-wheel alignment, after reading about this in your column. I noticed that while driving on the highway, my Jeep pulls slightly to the right. My boyfriend and his buddy said that is done on purpose so that if a driver falls asleep, the car will veer to the right and not into oncoming traffic. Is that the reason, or do I need to take my Jeep back in for a redo?
P.P., Rockford, Ill.
A: Your vehicle is pulling while your boyfriend and his buddy are pulling your leg. Does the pulling problem seem likely to happen on a certain road more than others? That road may have a greater crown than others. Most roads, especially in flat terrain as found in Illinois, are crowned at the center and slant to the outer edges to remove water from the road. That typically causes some vehicles to pull slightly to the right. Take it back for a redo. A good alignment technician can adjust the steering system to compensate for crowned roads.
Q: I have a 2014 Nissan Altima. At 65,000 miles, it would not start. The starter would go through its cycle, but the engine would not run, although it sounded as if it was trying. I had to finally give up and call a tow truck. My shop finally got it started but did not tell me how. At 76,000 miles, it did it again. On the internet, I found others have had the same problem. One guy posted that he applied the brake, opened the accelerator about 3/4 and his engine cranked right up. I did this, and it worked. My Nissan dealer and the shop manager said they had never heard of the problem before. Without a fault code, there apparently is not much the dealer can do. Any suggestions?
W.H., Waycross, Ga.
A: As vehicles rely more on computers and the sensors that report to them, tracking down a problem, especially an intermittent problem without a trouble code, becomes increasingly difficult. Your no-start problem may be a faulty brake light switch that fails intermittently as you press the pedal and then the start/stop switch. It may be due to a weak fuel pump, or it may be a faulty camshaft position sensor. Or it may be something else. Your shop may have to spend considerable time chasing it down.
Q: I have a 2010 Ford Expedition with 104,000 miles. I keep it well maintained and have the front end aligned at each oil change. Recently I have noticed a vibration that appears to be in the front end when I reach 60 mph. Do you know what could be wrong?
J.F., Oakland Park, Fla.
A: A vibration that only occurs at a specific speed is usually caused by wheel imbalance. If you feel the vibration in the steering wheel, it usually indicates a front wheel problem. If you feel it in the seat of your pants, it usually indicates a rear wheel problem. Checking alignment at every oil change is probably unnecessary. Save your money, and spend it on getting your wheels re-balanced.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician.