Q. When I'm travelling at normal dual carriageway and motorway speeds in my estate car there is a strange, juddering sensation.

Q. When I'm travelling at normal dual carriageway and motorway speeds in my estate car there is a strange, juddering sensation. I took the car to my local garage to have the wheels balanced and the suspension checked. The wheels were balanced and there was nothing wrong with the suspension, so what could the problem be?
B Murphy, by e-mail

A. There is a possibility that your tyres could have flat spots if your car has been parked for long periods in one position. If that isn't the case and your tyres are completely true, then being an estate car there could be a very simple solution. Check the security of the tailgate lock. If it is not secure then the whole door can begin to vibrate. You may be able to adjust the tail lock yourself so that the latch fits more securely or take it to your garage and have this investigated.

Q. My automatic car runs fine when in neutral or park, but as soon as I select drive or reverse, the engine stutters and stalls. This even happens if I turn the steering wheel. What's wrong?
D Elias, Evesham

A. It sounds like a simple problem: the idle speed must be set far too low. Maybe your car hasn't been serviced for some time, so get it into a garage and have a full service. An automatic car that constantly stalls in this way is very dangerous indeed, and I'm surprised that you have managed to drive it at all.

Q. My driver's door handle has become really stiff. Whether I open it from the inside or outside it gets more difficult every day. What should I do?
V Harley, by e-mail

A. Just spray some lubricant like WD40 into the lock and then liberally apply some grease in there. You can buy this from a motor accessory shop, don't use anything from your kitchen cupboards.

Q. My car has a full service history and is generally in good condition although it is now over 10 years' old. When starting, the engine is noisy for the first few miles then goes away. What is this?
A Brierley, Huntingdon

A. We dealt with this problem recently and provided the noise goes away when warm you haven't got too much to worry about. You could use a slightly thinner grade of motor oil, so a 10/40 or 10/30 instead of 20/50 could help. Check when the cambelt was last changed -- leave it too long in most cars (that's over 30,000 miles), and it could break. Consult the manufacturer as to when they recommend it should be changed.

*CAR DOCTOR: Write to Car Doctor, Features, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail cardoctor@independent.co.uk

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