The Car Doctor answers your car questions!

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Q. I have a 2017 Toyota RAV4, my wife only uses it around town, so it only has 4000 miles on it. We purchased it brand new from a Toyota dealer. When I come to a stop and then proceed to take a left turn into traffic the motor dies out for a few seconds and then picks up by itself. It does not happen all the time. I can’t find any technical bulletins or recalls on it. I told the dealer. They test drove and it did not happen to them. This has become very dangerous at times. Do you have any Information or suggestions?

A. We have seen so issues with carbon buildup in some engines and this excessive carbon can cause drivability issues. I would start with a couple of application of a fuel treatment like Techron or Sea Foam. These gasoline additives will help wash away deposits that could cause the hesitation. The other possible issue is that your vehicle uses a idle stop, start feature and you may be just catching it restarting. As a test try disabling the start-stop feature every time you use the vehicle. If the problem goes away, you have found the issue.

Q. I just read your column and in one letter, the writer commented “I’ve decided against Honda CRV as I’ve read too many stories of gas mixing with oil.” I’ve never heard of this problem, and you didn’t comment on it? As I am considering a new CRV, can you comment on if this is true?

A. Honda did have a problem with the engine in the current generation CR-V. The issue was when driven very short distances oil would get contaminated with unburned fuel. According to everything that I have read, the issue has been resolved. I personally wouldn’t hesitate to buy a new CR-V.

Q. The best car I ever owned (and I’m 72 with a million miles under my belt) is my current car, a 2009 BMW 328i sedan, modified with a couple of speed chips and a cold air intake which takes the car’s performance from just okay to truly fun to drive. I bought the car at 21,000 miles
I’m approaching 200,000 miles. Only major repairs were a couple of wheel bearings and some oil pan issue. I sometimes go on long trips, like to Indianapolis, and now I’m thinking, what if I break down in the mountains of Pennsylvania? So my question is, keep it, which I really want to do, or go through the daunting slog of finding another car that will perform just as good but still be affordable (I am a retiree, after all). So if I keep it, are there things you think I should check out, like the timing chain, the cooling system, I don’t even know what questions to ask!

A. At 200,000 miles, without a major problem, keep doing whatever you are doing. Typically, I hear from BMW owners that most will start to show serious mechanical issues at 100,000 miles. You could certainly keep the car knowing that at some point electrical issues are going to crop up. Alternators, starters and other electrical components can only last so long. The typical life of a transmission is probably 250,000 miles and the climate control can get problematic. That being said all of these items are cheaper than a new car and realistically your car has very little value at this point. If I was going to keep the car–and if it were me I might; I would ask your repair shop to spend about an hour and just give the car a good once over. Once you have a list of potential repairs, it will be easier to make an informed decision. If I was looking at a car to replace this one, I would look at the Audi A4, it just is a good car, fun to drive, well-crafted interior and generally dependable.