Last updateWed, 29 Jun 2016 8am

The key to car remotes

One of my longtime customers came in recently and explained that the keys and remotes to his 2000 VW New Beetle weren’t working.

The customer had three keys – two main keys and one valet key. Most late-model VW keys have the key and remote together. One of the main keys started the car, but the remote did not work. On the other main key, the remote worked but the key did not start the car.

SUV or plus-size sedan?

Photos courtesy of BMW
The BMW X4 xDrive28i can span approximately 20 miles in combined driving on a single gallon of gas. On the highway, the sedan averages 28 mpg.

The recent moves by BMW and Mercedes-Benz to shave the rear roof line of their mid-size SUVs – making them look less like utility vehicles and more like slightly inflated sedans –has some people scratching their heads.

Good things come in smaller packages

Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class boasts a stylish exterior, above, and luxurious interior, below.

Several of the major global automobile companies have recently expanded their product offerings to cover a broader range of uses and age/income markets. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class we drove last month is one result of this strategy.

Mercedes recently introduced the CLA and GLA, the first two models of a completely new range of front-wheel-drive compact cars at the affordable end of the market, keyed to the needs and incomes of younger buyers. At the same time, the company has moved the C-Class – previously its entry-level model in the United States – a bit higher in size, price range and luxury level to better bridge the gap to the best-selling E-Class.

Matt pinpoints problem in a fluid situation

Last month I had a customer with a 2003 Subaru Outback who was complaining about loss of power steering after she reached 15 mph. I’d never heard of such a problem before.

Jaguar XJL: A magic carpet on wheels

Courtesy of Jaguar
The Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD is spacious and comfortable.

It’s not a large market, but the major auto manufacturers have realized that targeting those in businesses that require chauffeuring clients from the airport to meetings or to look at commercial real estate can be lucrative – and they’re offering flagship vehicles to fit such needs.

While Genie and I don’t normally find ourselves in such vehicles, a mix-up in scheduling led to a 2015 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD landing in our driveway. We had it for a week and did lots of “let’s pretend” drives, chauffeuring friends to the San Francisco Symphony, driving around Silicon Valley to see new research and development buildings going up and doing stop-and-go errands around Los Altos.

Volvo breaks the rules – and succeeds

courtesy of Volvo
The Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum sedan comes with a four-cylinder engine that packs plenty of power. It offers 302 horsepower and 295-pound feet of torque.

Last month we drove two vehicles, both 2015 models from Volvo, that easily made it onto our good-choices list.

The V60 T6 R-Design station wagon and the S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum sedan are interesting because they are good despite flaunting rules that have been the death of other brands.

Tricky problem sparks solution with thorough examination

I have to admit that when it comes to attacking complex automotive problems, I’m a bit of a mechanical geek. On the second day of 2015, I encountered such a problem – reminding me of the old adage, “You learn something new every day.”

One of my longtime customers brought in her 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5L Non-Turbo with 87,000 miles. She complained of a rattling sound from the engine that occurred mostly on startup and usually did not go away.

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