Questions and Answers from the ‘Car Doctor’ – The Saratogian | CarTailz

Q. My wife’s Kia Soul 2019 car uses an orange washer fluid, mine uses a blue one; can i mix them, if not what should i do? Also is there refrigeration liquid if cold weather is on the way?

A. All washer fluids have the same basic composition, soap, alcohol and water. Some liquids contain chemicals that will bead up water, while others are better at removing bugs. Yes, you can mix the different liquids, but you may lose some of the “special” properties of certain liquids. And yes, look for washer fluid that is good down to minus 20 degrees.

Q. My 2011 Chevy Cruze has a code for a catalytic converter problem. I have swapped two sensors but the code is still showing. What can I do?

A. If it is a PO 420 code and you have verified; Engine misfire, high engine oil or coolant consumption, weak or poor spark, fuel lean and fuel mixture, and a damaged oxygen sensor or wiring harness. Then this code usually means that the catalytic converter needs to be replaced.

Q. I was driving behind a GMC Sierra pickup on the freeway yesterday and it had four tires on the rear axle. Why should that be?

A. Adding two rear wheels to a pickup increases stability and, more importantly, cargo and trailer towing capacity. Chances are the driver has a large trailer and needs the extra trailer capacity. In the case of the GMC and when using a semi-trailer or gooseneck trailer, the single rear wheel configuration can tow 21,500 pounds, the dual rear wheel configuration can tow 35,500 pounds.

Q. The bushing near the control arm on my 2007 Ford Edge is loose and making noise. I just wanted to know if the left side bushing could be replaced. My cousin checked it out and says he can fix it.

A. If you buy the part from Ford, only the control arm is available. There are suspension suppliers that only sell the bushings. If you or your cousin are doing the work yourself, I would install a complete control arm for the sake of simplicity. This comes with new bushings and a ball joint and makes perfect sense when using an aftermarket part.

Q. In central West Virginia, I saw a truck dropping off gas at an Exxon gas station, and then I saw the same truck across the street dumping at a grocery store. And I’ve heard people say their car doesn’t run on that cheap gas and I only buy Exxon. It’s all the same. Coming from the same barge. Some may argue, but I know better.

A. There are several compartments in the tanker and although the starting material is the same, the additives are different. So in a way, every gas is the same because it starts with the same basic ingredients, but it’s the additives that make it different. It’s a bit like baking, the basic ingredients are the same, what’s added to the mix changes the taste.

Q. My question has to do with electric cars and batteries. With all the electric and hybrid cars, once the batteries have met their manufacturer, what happens to them when they can no longer do their job. Is there a battery heaven?

A. Batteries can be rebuilt, so to speak, and only the defective cells replaced. The other option on vehicles with huge batteries like Tesla, the batteries can be reused for other devices like powerwalls and battery backup systems. The final option is to simply recycle them. For example, the lithium-ion in the used battery can be reused and is actually better than the new product. From what I’ve read, lithium-ion recycling is set to grow into a multi-billion dollar business.

Q. My 2012 Ford Escapes rear tire had a cut in the sidewall and was flat. It’s a 70,000 mile Continental with only about 10,000 miles on it and less than two years old. I was told I would have to replace all four tires because it is 4WD. Is that true?

A. The simple answer is yes. From what I’ve seen and read as an example, a new tire has about 9/32 tread. If the vehicle’s three tires are 7/32 or better then everything should be fine. The 2/32 difference in profile shouldn’t make a difference. The other option is since your car has a preloaded front wheel you could only replace two tires and so at least they would match. Normally you would mount the best tires on the rear, but in this case on the front. The other option and Tire Rack and maybe other tire shops is to buy a new tire and shave it down to the tread depth of the other tires. This is a common solution on high-performance four-wheel drive vehicles that only require one tire.

Q. I have a 2010 Toyota Prius in Southeast Florida with approximately 125,000 miles. For about two to three years, the dashboard has been illuminated for all gauges; Speed, throttle, etc. did not work when the car got wet. When it dried in about 15-60 minutes the gauges worked. Now the indicators don’t light up at all. It was originally taken to a Toyota service facility when the problem first manifested and they stated that the dashboard would have to be removed and it was so costly the car wasn’t worth repairing. The large hybrid battery was replaced about two years ago and the smaller battery within the last six months. What is your opinion, is there a solution and is the car worth repairing?

A. The dealer is right, it’s a fairly expensive repair, taking about six hours to remove and replace the dash, plus an additional $600 for the dash if needed. There are also at least three computers in this area, but I guess the circuit board for the cluster just got wet too many times. After the repair or before you need to find the water leak. You could easily spend $2000 or more to get everything working properly. Worth looking for a similar car online still has a retail price of $9000.

If you have a question about the car, send an email to the Car Doctor for a personal answer.

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