Motormouth: Can we expect more cars with easy in/easy out ‘suicide’ doors?

Motormouth: Can we expect more cars with easy in/easy out ‘suicide’ doors?
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 15: Lincoln shows off the Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at the Cobo Center on January 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The show is open to the public from January 19-27. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/TNS) (Scott Olson / TNS)

Q: I parked next to what looked like a new Rolls Royce. The sedan had four extra wide doors; the back two were suicide doors. I am 74 and love the easy in/easy out these doors offer. Try getting in and out of regular back doors without hitting your head or knees, especially with luggage. Will the suicide doors ever return here?

T.L., Addison, Ill.


A: You're in luck, maybe. Lincoln introduced the 2019 Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition, which pays homage to the iconic style of the Continental of the 1960s. The run was limited to 80 units. Each one was personalized with a unique badge. All 80 automobiles have been snatched up, despite the hefty price tag of more than $100,000. But Lincoln has said it will build more coach-door Continentals. So stay tuned.

Q: I purchased a new 2011 Ford Fusion in December 2010. The car ran great (and quietly) until the weather warmed up to over 80 degrees, then developed a series of creaks, groans, knocks and other weird sounds, mostly from the front end and in the steering. Investigating, I found many complaints of this car from others, and horror stories of people replacing suspension, brake and steering parts to no avail. In the fall when the weather fell below 80 degrees all noises stopped. Believing it was somehow temperature related, I did nothing. Nine years later the car continues to do this, every winter runs quietly, every summer the noises return. I still own the car, and outside of several recalls which Ford took care of, the car still runs great and is very good on gas mileage, but now summer is coming and the noises have returned. Was there ever a fix in place?

C.J., Chicago

A: You have me stumped. The first thing to come to mind was sway bar links or bushings, or loose McPherson struts. But these would not change with the weather. My hunch is that something metal is expanding with the heat and contacting another piece of metal somewhere. Don't rule out the rear of the car. Noises created in the back can travel through the frame to the front. Ask your favorite technician to look carefully for shiny spots where contact may have been made.

Q: Thanks for your recent piece on the advisability of changing lights in pairs. The Friday before your column appeared in the Chicago Tribune my wife got stopped by the Chicago police for a burned-out right brake light. She drives a 2014 Subaru Forester. I took your suggestion one step further and ordered replacements for the whole cluster. The top right bulb was burned out. It is a combo brake light and running light. It was obvious that the one next to it was ready to go, so it was a good idea to replace both. The pair just below are the back-up lights. Based on the discoloration of the glass, I would guess they would have gone out next, so I swapped them out while the light cluster was disassembled. Thanks for the tip. I greatly enjoy your column.

J.C., Chicago

A: It makes economic sense to replace all of the bulbs if you have to go through the trouble of remove an entire lighting module. This is especially true for some modules that require labor to remove stuff like the grill of bumper, or both. Thanks for the kudos.


Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber's work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.

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