Weekly auto rail, with a look at the year’s top vehicles, tips on making your car “green” and more.


Detroit Auto Show: And the winners are …

The Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150 were named Car of the Year and Truck of the Year at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. The Genesis beat out finalists Ford Flex and Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and the F-150 beat out the Dodge Ram and Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC. Journalists from the U.S. and Canada voted for the winners.

Tip of the Week: Make your car run more efficiently

Illuminati Motor Works, a group of Springfield, Ill.-based engineers and automotive technicians, offered some "eco-modding" techniques that can help you gain a few more miles per gallon from your car. 

- Keep your tires properly inflated: Keep tires inflated to the specifications of tire manufactures, usually displayed on the sidewall of the tire. 

- Keep your car cool: Tinted windows can reduce energy consumption of the air conditioning system in half, reducing solar energy input into the car and increasing fuel efficiency by 12.5 percent. Be sure to check on regulations on tinted darkness in your state.

- Invest in fully synthetic oil and transmission fluid: Synthetic oils enhance the overall performance of an automotive engine, helping reduce an engine's energy use, increase the intervals between oil changes and decrease petroleum oil consumption and waste.

- ARA

Did You Know

Toyota plans to release an all-electric car by 2012. The car is designed for city driving, according to a Toyota executive.

Car Q&A

Question: I own a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee with only 59,000 miles. It developed a hesitation and nearly stalls at stoplights. The dealer gave it a tune-up and cleaned the fuel injectors and EGR system. Two days later, there was the same problem. I brought it back, and they said it had a bad fuel injector, so I had it replaced. I spent $1,500 and still have the same condition. Any ideas?

Answer: I have no idea what the technician was thinking on the services done so far. For the engine to want to almost stall at a stop, it sounds like the idle speed is not being controlled by the computer. Some possibilities are a lazy idle control motor, TPS sensor out of range or even a faulty computer. I have seen low battery voltage and alternator problems also cause drivability problems even though the battery has enough voltage to start the engine. At this point you may want to try a shop with a qualified technician with knowledge of your Jeep. Just because you go to a dealer does not mean the technician working on your Jeep has full knowledge and understanding of the vehicle.

-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service