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How to Make Your Car Last Forever: Auto Q&A with Tom Torbjornsen | Business

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How to Make Your Car Last Forever: Auto Q&A with Tom Torbjornsen

Dear Tom,

I own a ’02 Ford Focus that came with one key when I bought it (used). When I went to get a second key made I was told that they couldn't make a key for it because it had a “transponder” and I would need to get one from a dealer. This is expensive! Is this absolutely necessary or is there another way to get a key?

Jan from Eagle, CO


The dealer is correct. The key has an electronic transponder chip in the end of the key that needs to be programmed to the vehicle in order for the key to start the vehicle. This is a security feature from Ford. If you use a key that doesn't have the transponder chip in it or one that is not programmed to the vehicle, it will go into theft mode and will not turn over the starter. There is no way of getting around this. Bite the bullet and buy the key. 



Dear Tom,

I own a ’99 GMC Yukon. Last year the truck started shaking at about 50 to 60 MPH. I took it to my mechanic and he said it was the transmission. I took it to a transmission shop and they said it was the drive shaft. They changed the drive shaft but the problem got worse. Can you help?

Mark from Fairfax, VA


The fact that the problem changed with the drive shaft replacement indicates to me that the problem is the drive shaft or associated drivetrain parts. Did they replace the drive shaft with a new or used shaft? Did they build you a new shaft? If the did, did they make sure the yokes were lined up properly? Did someone check the rear differential mounts and trailing arm bushings? Finally, it is possible that the transmission and/or engine mounts are broken, which could cause vibration. Good luck.


Note: Check out this review of my latest book, “How to Make Your Car Last Forever,” courtesy of Hot Rod Design. And just for the record, I agree with the reviewer ... the book would make a killer stocking stuffer! Here's the link: http://hotroddesign.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/there-can-be-only-one/

For more great advice from auto expert Tom Torbjornsen, visit the America’s Car Show website at www.americascarshow.com or become a fan on Facebook for frequent updates. You can also hear Tom’s radio show at noon EST Saturdays on the SSI Radio Network and at 10 p.m. EST Sundays on Stars Too — Sirius 108 & XM 139. And, pick up a copy of Tom’s latest book, “How to Make Your Car Last Forever,” on Amazon.com. Follow Tom’s Q&A blogs every week on WGRZ.com, Buffalo.com and Examiner.com.

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