Dear Doctor: I am the original owner of a 2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK320 coupe with 42,000 miles. Within one year of purchase I heard a popping noise from the exhaust when coming to a stop. A mechanic at the dealership heard the popping noise after driving the car to his home and back to work and said the Mercedes’ New Jersey office claims this is just from the cooling of components and does not require replacement of the catalytic converter. I’m concerned that the 8-year warranty on that part expires soon. Why should I have to endure this unnatural noise on an otherwise fine car? Howard
Dear Howard: A popping sound is an indication of exhaust gases exploding or a baffle defect in the exhaust. I suggest you go back to the dealer for a second opinion from another technician. The car did not make the popping sound when it was new during your first year of ownership and will only get worse in time.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2006 BMW 525i. I’d like to know how to reset the maintenance intervals for oil change, microfilter, and service interval. My 5 Series is currently out-of-warranty with 68,000 miles and my local mechanic does the work on it. He could not reset these items when he performed my last oil change. Is this something that can be done only by the BMW dealer? Joe
Dear Joe: With just a few simple steps you can reset the oil change interval. It is done through the dash cluster. Turn the ignition key “on” without starting the engine. Press and hold the odometer reset button until the triangle appears. Release the button and repeatedly press the odometer-reset button until the “reminder reset” appears. Once you get the reset message, hold the reset button until reset appears. This how-to information is available from both Identifix (www.identifix.com) and Alldata (www.alldata.com). I highly recommend both Web sites for do-it-yourself auto repair instructional information.
Dear Doctor: Nearly one year ago I purchased a 1998 Ford Taurus with 85,000 miles for my teenage daughter. Recently she informed me that car does not always start up. I determined it was the Anti-theft Device, due to the indication that the “theft” light blinks rapidly whenever the no-start condition occurs. When it doesn’t start we can turn the key three times and the car will reset and start. This is annoying. This occurs with the factory key and I tried to reset the system by disconnecting the battery. Any suggestions? Artie
Dear Artie: I researched your problem on the Identifix Web site and found that there are many possibilities on this fault.