I own a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 73,000 miles. My mechanic said it needed a new catalytic converter and he referred me back to the dealer because it is warranted eight years (80,000 miles). I went to the dealer and they said the front pipe was leaking and caused the problem and there for it would not be covered.

QUESTION: I own a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 73,000 miles. My mechanic said it needed a new catalytic converter and he referred me back to the dealer because it is warranted eight years (80,000 miles). I went to the dealer and they said the front pipe was leaking and caused the problem and there for it would not be covered. I went back to my mechanic and he looked at the front pipe and said there was no leaks. I then went to another shop for a smoke test and no leak was found. The dealer still insists the exhaust is leaking. What is up with Toyota dealers? It seems like they do not care about their customers anymore.


ANSWER: Well, you are not the first to complain about Toyota dealers. My advice would be try another dealer. If the treatment is the same, have your local mechanic make the repair using a factory catalytic converter and send the bill to Toyota and see if they will at least pay for the converter. Remember, there are a lot of very good brands on the market if you do not get any satisfaction from Toyota.


QUESTION: I own a 1994 Acura four-door. There is a water leak coming into the driver’s side floor after a rainstorm. I tried running water over the roof and cannot find the source of the leak. What do you suggest?


ANSWER: I see a lot of cars with water leaks. A lot of times we take the molding, seats and rugs out of the vehicle. We next run water over the area of concern. While running water a technician will look under the dash and any possible point of entry. This is a basic first step. We can also close all windows, put the heater on high and use a smoke machine around the sealing areas to locate air emitting from the vehicle. Any good auto repair or body shop will be able to find the leak and fix the car.


QUESTION: I own a 1998 Ford Ranger V/6 with 89,000 miles that I recently purchased. The problem is a rough idle. I have had two mechanics check it. One repositioned the transmission lines and the other adjusted the engine mounts. The vibration is slightly better. They said a vibration is normal on the both the V/6 and four-cylinder engines. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


ANSWER: I service a lot of both four- and six-cylinder Ford vehicles. I have yet to have any owners complain about a vibration at idle. There are a few simple steps in locating the vibration. Is the engine idling at the correct speed? Is the engine running smooth? Are the rubber insulated engine mounts intact, no metal-to-metal contact? I have even seen the wrong size serpentine belt (too long) cause a vibration at idle. Did the mechanic try moving the engine with a pry bar while at idle with you sitting in the truck? These are all things that need to be tried. 


Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360, or e-mail ocm@cnc.com.