Which American cars are actually made in America?


AAA Northeast Automotive Physician John Paul answers a question from a reader looking to buy American.

Ford fueled F-150 trucks being produced at their truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan on September 20, 2022. Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Q It’s not about car repair. I would like to buy an American car. What cars are made in America?

A. There was a time when it was easy to answer this question. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler were all American cars, mostly made in the United States, or at least in North America. Traditional import cars have manufacturing or assembly plants from the Carolinas to California. You can buy a Honda Accord made in Ohio, a Toyota Camry made in Kentucky, or a Hyundai made in Alabama. The last Buick I drove was made in China, so it’s getting pretty confusing. Although it even seems strange to me to say (perhaps a generational issue), Tesla is perhaps the most American automaker. GM’s and Ford’s trucks are very American, just like the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang. While shopping for a car, look at the window sticker. It will tell you where the car is made and the percentage of American parts.

Q My Ford Explorer with 321,000 makes noise if I drive over 45 miles per hour. When I accelerate, it’s fine. When I release the gas, there is a loud fan noise. What could be causing this?

A. Typically the differential pinion bearing will make this type of growling noise. Generally, the noise gets louder the faster you drive. Four-wheel drive vehicles like yours can sometimes be a little tricky to diagnose. Typically, the front sprocket bearing will be noisy when coasting and the rear sprocket bearing will be noisy under load.

Q Gasoline is still too expensive, I’m curious if tires can actually save gas. I heard about tires that can make the car burn less fuel. Is it true?

A. I have seen comparative studies that have found that low rolling resistance tires such as Michelin Energy Saver and Bridgestone Ecopia can actually save fuel. In a test with a Toyota Prius, the difference between the tires tested with the lowest and highest rolling resistance resulted in a saving of 21 gallons of fuel over 15,000 miles, with no compromise in performance or durability. tire life. It’s not a huge saving, but every little bit counts. To save fuel without spending more money on new tires, keep your tires properly inflated, accelerate and brake gently, and combine trips when possible.

Q We love our Honda Odyssey because of its reliability, fuel efficiency, comfort and quiet, car-like ride. We need a vehicle like the Odyssey because of our children, our dog and the long trips we often take. One of the other reasons we like the Honda is because of the built-in vacuum. Do you think the new Honda is still a good choice?

A. I still believe the Odyssey is one of the best vehicles of its type on the market. It drives well, gets decent fuel mileage and is very versatile. The Toyota Sienna is also a good choice and stands out from the crowd of all-wheel-drive minivans. The Sienna as well as the Chrysler Pacifica also have hybrid options. I have some bad news about the Honda Odyssey: last time I looked, due to supply chain issues, the built-in Honda-Vac was not available.

Q I just bought a 2002 Lexus SC 430 with 70,000 miles from a neighbor. He is in amazing condition. Most people looking at the car think it is a new model. Would you recommend due to age replacing the timing belt and water pump? I think the manual recommends 90,000 miles, but considering the car is 20 years old, I think that might be the right thing to do.

A. Given the age of the car, it would make sense to replace the timing belt and belt tensioner as well as the alternator and power steering belts. Regarding the water pump, I would also replace it since it is an integral part of the distribution system. The job to replace the timing belt took just under five hours and only 18 minutes remained to replace the water pump. When replacing the belts and water pump, also examine the coolant hoses. In my opinion, although a bit costly, replacing these items could prevent a costly breakdown.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Automotive Physician. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is an ASE Certified Master Technician. Email your question to [email protected] Listen to the Car Doctor podcast on johnfpaul.podbean.com.


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