Weekly auto rail, with car-care tips when it’s still hot out, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
While summer's record-setting temperatures may be starting to fade, many motorists are unaware that their cars may be experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion. From batteries to tires, heat takes a toll on vehicles. AutoZone recommends performing a few proactive checks to help prevent a costly and unpleasant breakdown.
- Test batteries. Heat is a battery's worst enemy. Corrosion caused by heat is the leading cause of battery failure. Many batteries that fail in fall and winter months had already been significantly weakened during the preceding hot summer months.
- Check fluids. Checking and maintaining the levels on key fluids such as transmission fluid, coolant and engine oil can prevent engines from overheating.
- Inspect tires for wear and appropriate tire pressure. Heat can cause tire pressure to rise. Tire problems are the leading cause of breakdowns. Under-inflated tires can lead to blowouts and serious accidents. The appropriate tire pressure amount can be found inside the driver-side door on most vehicles.
- Keep the air filter clean. Replacing a clogged air filter can lead to increased performance and acceleration. Air filters should be checked at every oil change and replaced every 12,000 miles.
- Check and replace vital vehicle components. Replace components such as spark plugs and oxygen sensors at recommended intervals. Regular maintenance can prevent costly damage, improve fuel efficiency and prevent a breakdown.
- Perform routine scheduled maintenance checks. Motorists should check their owner's manual for a schedule of recommended maintenance intervals from the vehicle manufacturer. If the owner's manual has been lost, many websites, such as the National Car Care Council's website, www.carcare.org, offer a recommended maintenance schedule for vehicles.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, here are the favorite subcompact cars:
1: Ford Fiesta
3: Honda Fit
Did You Know
A 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa was sold at an auction recently for $16.4 million – a record amount for a vehicle.
Q: I own a 2004 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder Nissan Altima with approximately 46,000 miles. About a week ago, with my son in the car, I felt a tightness and stiffness upon making turns. My son felt it too. I took it into my Nissan dealer. They looked at it, drove it around, and found nothing. Today, the date of this writing, I felt the same tightness in the turns once again, with my hands having to grip the steering wheel much tighter than usual.
A: It is time to take the car to a shop that is either AAA approved and or has ASE certified technicians. The tightness you mention can be caused from the steering shaft universal joint, often overlooked. The power steering fluid flush would not have any effect. If the power steering belt was slipping, you would hear the squealing sound. Seldom is there a power steering pump or power steering rack failure. As for any tight front end moving parts, it’s unlikely.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service