Recently I got an e-mail from a customer inquiring about a message they had gotten about pumping gas. gas pump   Is it all true?

Answer: YES, YES and is all true. I would like to add something else. Be sure that when you finish pumping the gas into your car, that you tighten the gas cap at least 5 clicks, or half a turn. The evaporative emissions control system in all new cars is EMISSION FREE...that is, no gasoline fumes are allowed to escape into the atmosphere. If the gas cap is not tight, the ECU (electronic control unit) on the car, will sense it and turn on the engine check light. To reset the light requires an OBD II code  reader  to reset the computer . . .Sometimes at a cost of up to $75. Learn more at Fuel Injection


When I run the air conditioner in my car I have a wet spot that develops on the right front carpet. Sometimes when I make a hard right turn, I get cold water on my right foot. What is leaking, and how do I stop it?

Answer: The air conditioner system is designed to remove moisture from the interior of a car. This moisture is usually dumped out of the passenger compartment through a hose that goes through the firewall and dumps the excess water on the ground. On your car the hose has been knocked off or is blocked. I suspect it is blocked by debris or even a spider web. The excess water builds up in the evaporator and when it exceeds a certain level, it leaks onto the carpet, or in your case on a hard right turn, it flows through the air vent under the dash to the vent on the drivers side just above your right foot. I suggest you have the hose that is supposed to dump the water checked and cleared. Learn more at Air Conditioning


According to the original window sticker when I bought my new car, the mileage rating was 26 MPG city and 34 MPG highway. Why is my mileage always lower than these numbers?

Answer: Fuel economy is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a standardized test procedure specified by federal law. Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 10-15 percent of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory is part of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality which is responsible for carrying out laws to control air pollution from motor vehicles, engines, and their fuels.  Office of Transportation and Air Quality's mission is to reconcile the transportation sector with the environment by advancing clean fuels and technology, and promoting more livable communities.

EPA has improved its methods for estimating fuel economy, but your mileage will still vary.

EPA tests are designed reflect "typical" driving conditions and driver behavior, but several factors can affect MPG significantly:

Therefore, the EPA ratings are a useful tool for comparing the fuel economies of different vehicles but may not accurately predict the average MPG you will get.


How does the emergency brake work without brake fluid?

Answer: On most new Honda's and Acura's, the emergency brake is a drum brake inside the rear brake rotor, or compresses the rear brake rotors by means of a mechanical device. It is indeed operated by a cable attached to the emergency brake lever, completely independent of the brake fluid. In other words, if you completely run out of brake fluid (a hose breaks, or a line ruptures), the emergency brakes will stop the car. It has a one way lever ratchet so that it can be depressed permanently. Only by some other action (pushing on it or pulling up on it) can it be released. In the case of a brake failure, you push of pull on the emergency brake lever SLOWLY to stop the car. Engaging the emergency brake fully at high speed could cause a loss of control by locking up the rear brakes. The ABS does not function with the emergency brakes. Learn more at Brakes


Recently, I replaced my battery in my car, everything seemed to be all right. I reset the radio code and the satellite navigation code, but today, three days later, I found that the window auto function won't work. What did I do wrong?

Answer: First of all, you didn't do anything wrong. Your car has numerous computers on board. Whenever you disconnect the battery, or the battery voltage drops less than 9 volts DC, the memory of some of the computers is lost. The computer controlling the window function has lost its memory of what to do with the second click of the window switch. All you need to do is teach the computer what you want it to do. Press and HOLD the window switch until the window reached it full travel without stopping, holding the switch until the switch clicks, usually about 2 seconds. Do the same for the UP function as necessary. Learn more at Windows.


Which is better, standard or synthetic motor oil?  For the price of synthetic, you can change regular oil 3 or 4 times, so isn't it better to change more frequently?

Answer:  Most new cars built today still use standard oil. Synthetic oil is made for high performance cars because the temperatures and stresses of a high performance engine, put extreme pressures on moving parts. Most new cars are not driven to extreme, so synthetic oil is not necessary. The oil recommended by the manufacturer is best for your particular car. Use of synthetic oil in a regular car is not necessary, unless the car is driven in a manner that is considered extreme, in other words, consistent high speed driving; dusty conditions, very cold conditions or very hot conditions. Standard oil will break down (get noticeably dirtier) under these conditions. Under those conditions, synthetic oil is recommended.                  Learn more at Lubrication.


Do you really need to change the oil filter with every oil change?  It seems wasteful.  Maybe it's appropriate during the first few months of a motor's life when there could be lots of metal particles wearing off and clogging the filter, but after that,  what's there to filter?  For example, I remember the Chrysler service manual for my Dad's 1967 Plymouth Fury recommended a filter change every other oil change.

Answer: First of all, you can't change your oil too often! Changing the oil filter every time the oil is replaced is necessary because engines constantly wear. Granted, they do wear more the first 10-15 thousand miles, but wear is constant. As engines wear, the microscopic particles of engine parts and also a byproduct of combustion, carbon, is constantly being introduced to the oil. These small bits and carbon particles cause wear. This is what causes the oil to appear black when it is changed. The oil filter is designed to stop most of these particles. Replacement of the filter with the oil guarantees a clean running engine with as little wear as possible for hundreds of thousands of miles. Chrysler, I believe, wanted to lower the cost of maintenance for consumers. It turned out to be bad for Chrysler, because the engines only lasted about 100,000 miles before the engine was worn out and needed to be rebuilt. Learn more at Lubrication.


When measuring tire pressure, should the weight of the car be on it, in order to get an accurate reading?  I always wondered about this when checking my spare's tire pressure (full-size spare) in the trunk (yes, I actually used to do this in times past when I had too much time on my hands!).

Answer:  The best time to measure tire pressure on any tire is when it is cold. Load on a tire is irrelevant. The volume inside a tire stays constant no matter the load on the tire, so pressure remains the same. Tire pressure will increase slightly as the tires heats up, but this is a factor built into the tire. The maximum pressure embossed on the side of each tire is the recommended pressure. A full sized spare tire should be the same, even though there is no load on that tire. It usually sits in the trunk for months or years before being used, so full pressure will keep it inflated longer. The space saver spare on most new cars is designed to be smaller and lighter than the original tire. The stresses on that tire require a higher pressure to maintain the same ride as with a regular tire. Always go by what is embossed on that spare tire, usually 60 PSI. Remember, any tire looses about 1 to 2 pounds a month, so check them. Learn more at Tires.


How does the Prius hybrid get 50 MPG in the city?!

Answer:  I don't claim to be a Toyota expert, but I have read up about the Prius. Both the Prius and Honda have an electric motor between the engine and the transmission which is driven by a large battery pack. It seems that the Prius is different from Honda hybrids because the Prius uses battery power to start moving and battery power is used extensively in city driving. The engine starts when the battery is discharged below a certain voltage or when the car is driven at higher speeds. This differs from Honda hybrids because Honda's use engine power all the time, the electric motor adds about 15-20 horsepower to accelerate only. The engine stops running at red lights, or when the vehicle is motionless. Once the brake is released, the engine starts up and powers the car from a stop with the help of the batteries.  Once the car has reached cruising speed, it is running exclusively on engine power, charging the batteries.


Why are dealer parts so expensive today?  They seem to have increased about 5 times in price in the last 20 years.

Answer:  Gas prices. Employment costs. Shipping costs. Packing costs. Manufacturing costs. Take your pick! There always a number of reasons for rising costs. Everybody always wants more for doing less. Aftermarket parts are considerably less costly because the quality is not near what the dealer parts are.

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