Questions and answers with the ‘Car Doctor’ – troyrecord
Q. Not exactly a car issue, but if I have a bill to pay and drive right next to the store where the bill is due, is it cheaper or does it use more gasoline so that I stop the car, come in and pay the bill, or is it better to just stamp it and mail it?
A. Years ago when cars had carburetors starting and stopping wasted gas. Today, electronic fuel injection engines for starting a car use almost no fuel. This is why many new cars use start / stop technology to save fuel. Taking a special trip to the post office or store / office to pay a bill would not be cost effective or environmentally friendly. But if you are driving and combining your errands, it would make sense to stop and foot the bill. Published reports show that it takes about an ounce of gasoline to start an engine, so 5 cents of gasoline plus an additional 10 to 15 cents to park, compared to 58 cents for a stamp. Using basic math, it looks like putting a stamp on an envelope would cost more. Now, of course, you can still pay your bills online.
Q. Over the years, at the end of the summer season, I have run out of fuel on my mower and 2-stroke mower as instructed by the owner’s manual storage procedure. Also, I remove the spark plug and add a few drops of oil to the cylinder and spin the piston a few times. Living in Long Island New York, the season usually ends in November and begins around February or March. Is it necessary during these four months to add oil to the cylinders?
A. The string trimmer is sufficiently lubricated due to the mixture of oil and gas. With the lawn mower, it can’t hurt to add a little oil, then run the engine with your finger on the spark plug hole and when you feel the compression stop. This way the valves are closed keeping moisture out of the combustion chamber. Adding fuel stabilizer to your gas cans will help the fuel run out of date and facilitate seasonal storage.
Q. For 30 years, every 8 to 10 years, I have bought a new Buick and overall I have been satisfied with my purchases. I moved to the United States when I was 10 and I love to buy American. It’s time to buy a new car and I thought an SUV might be a good choice. I liked the Buick Envision, what do you think?
A. The Buick Envision is a comfortable and stylish car. Quiet SUV that can accommodate five people in spacious seats. The 2.0-liter turbo engine is responsive and very fuel efficient (I averaged about 30 miles per gallon). The model I drove with the $ 2,500 tech package had a list price of just under $ 40,000. I recently drove this Buick back to back with a small Mercedes SUV that cost $ 10,000 more and would give the Buick a slight edge over the Mercedes and ride and comfort. An interesting note, this Buick is assembled in China using less than 1% North American parts. No matter where this Buick is made, it’s a solid choice.
Q. My Ford pickup truck had its battery dead in the winter three years ago. I replaced the battery and everything was fine until this period of hot weather. The van didn’t start, and I restarted, and it was fine for a few days, and then it didn’t start again. The battery is only three years old and I measured the voltage so I’m sure it’s not a battery issue, what can it be?
A. Batteries are strained in cold weather, but it’s the summer heat that brings a battery in. Here in the northeast a battery typically lasts for five years, in hot weather you are lucky to be three years old on a battery. A good three-year-old battery should have a certain lifespan, but unless tested with a specialized battery tester – a voltmeter, won’t give you the full picture. At this point, the battery cables should be cleaned, the battery recharged, and the battery and charging system tested.
Q. My three year old Honda Pilot has driven 28,900 miles and is still under warranty. The rear brakes were all rusted and the dealer said the rotors needed to be changed (not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty). I think this is unusual since I drive this car like I drove my previous vehicle. What can I do?
A. You didn’t mention if rust is a problem. It is not uncommon for brake discs to rust even just after spending the night idle. Usually, it is enough to drive the vehicle for the brake pads to clean rust from the rotors. As an example, in the last 18 months with Covid, my vehicles can sit all week and the rotors are rusty brown. After a short drive the rotors clean themselves and everything is fine. If there is a problem with the sticky rear brake calipers, it can also contribute to rotors rusting. If the rotors are deeply pitted, then the only solution is to replace the rotors and at the same time inspect all aspects of the brake system.
Q. What do you think of dash cameras. With everything that has been happening on the roads lately, does it make sense to add one of these cameras?
A. I recently put a Garmin dash cam in my own car for the added security of having a witness to some of the oddities that occur on the road today. The camera I installed is behind the rearview mirror and does not block vision or cause distractions. Some states prohibit mounting anything on a windshield, so check your local ordinances. In addition, some states are also considering insurance discounts for passenger vehicles equipped with dash cameras.