Even though the 2009 auto industry has been a bleak one, three automakers sold more vehicles in 2009 than they did in 2008. Hyundai and Kia, which are affiliated, and Subaru.

In 2009, Subaru sold 216,652 vehicles, a 15 percent jump from 2008 and more than the automaker’s previous record of 200,703, in 2006. This may have been due to the introduction of two new models, the Legacy and Outback, which recorded sales leaps of 37 percent and 24 percent over the previous year. Their strongest performer, the Forester, recorded sales of 77,781 units.

Kia Motors America announced its 14th consecutive year of record sales with 305,473 units sold, a 3.8-percent year-over-year increase. Kia saw nine months of record sales in 2007. Leading the way for the brand in 2007 were Rio, Optima and Sportage.

Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, posted a 61.3 percent rise in September global sales compared to a year earlier helped by the launch of two new models, Tucson ix and Sonata.

So what are these auto makers doing different? The improvement in quality over the last few years and the smaller more fuel efficient designs seem to be what the consumer is looking for.

T.S.B’s (Technical Service Bulletins) are not recalls. They let automakers and consumers know about recurring problems experienced with various automobile models. Manufacturers do not offer payment assistance for these repairs beyond normal warranty coverage. Below is a list of some recent T.S.B’s

T.S.B. SB0151-09 issued on Oct. 14
2006-9 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 models may have a clicking noise from the rear, which requires the rear coil spring assembly to be replaced.

T.S.B. WVL-22 issued on Oct. 13
2005-8 Subaru Foresters and 2005-7 Imprezas may experience a momentary lack of fuel during cornering when the gas tank is below 1.5 gallons. The fuel pump could momentarily draw air, causing the engine to misfire resulting in damage to the catalytic converter. Removal of the one-way valve situated at the base of a small sub chamber in the tank should remedy the problem.

T.S.B. J06 issued on Oct. 12
2009 Dodge Ram 1500s’ a leaky windshield washer fluid reservoir sensor has the potential to leak fluid through to the wiring harness to the temperature sensor. This could damage the temperature sensor, preventing the fluid-level warning lamp from lighting. Replacing both sensors and the harness will stop the leak.

T.S.B. 09-19-15 issued on Oct. 5
2006-10 Focus and Escape models may have defective ignition locks that fail to turn to the start position. The problem is blamed on a bad steering column lock module which causes the keys to bind, but can be repaired by replacing the module.

T.S.B. 09-19-14 issued on Oct. 5
2010 Ford Transit Connects may have a brake knock in the rear. Ford dealers have been instructed to engage the parking brake three notches, and drive forward and then reverse for about 800 feet. If this “voodoo” doesn’t work, you can try swapping or replacing the left and right rear drums.

T.S.B. 09-18-2 issued on Sept. 21
2008-10 Ford Focus models may have problems with the front stabilizer bar, the upper front strut bearing or the lower control arm that may cause popping or clicking noises on turns or bumps. Replacing the affected parts, or tightening them to the factory-specified torque setting, should solve this problem.

T.S.B. SB0342-09 issued on Sept. 21
2006-9 Toyota 4Runners during stop and go driving or heavy acceleration, a smell of sulfur may be noticed. The replacement of the converter will eliminate the smell.

T.S.B. SB0338-09 issued on Sept. 16
2007-10 Toyota Tundras may emit a grinding noise from the front end when in 4 wheel drive. A new differential support should remedy the problem.

T.S.B. 09-023A issued on Sept. 10
2003-5 Q45s and 2004 M45s could have an electrical malfunction that deactivates one or both front side air bags and turn on the warning light. The system should be inspected, and if need be, repaired by adding a coating of epoxy to the wiring connectors and rerouting them slightly.

T.S.B. 0600309 issued on Sept. 4
2008-9 Mazda Tribute crossovers may have a popping or clunking sound from the steering column when turning. Replacing the steering shaft and the coupling joint will remedy the noise.

T.S.B. 0904509 issued on Aug. 17
2007-10 Mazda CX-7 may have a rattling sound from the bumper at highway speeds. Adding washers and new fasteners between the bumper cover and the body will quiet the noise.

T.S.B. 09-02-35-005 issued on Aug. 10
In some 2008-9 Cadillac CTS; 2005-9 Chevrolet Cobalt; 2006-9 Chevrolet HHR,2006-9 Pontiac Solstice; 2007-9 Chevy Equinox and 2007-9 Pontiac G5’s the key is difficult to remove from the ignition. Replacing the ignition lock cylinder will fix the problem.