strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2010 Mazda5 and I just replaced the wiper blades with Bosch blades. Like every car I've owned the original blades glide across the windshield smooth and quiet. As soon as I replace them within a couple of months the new blades start chattering and making a racket. I've cleaned the windshield with glass cleaner, ammonia, vinegar, but still have endless chatter. There is no streaking as the blades are virtually brand new, but the noise and grinding of the blades as they bounce across the glass drives me crazy. What can I do? Cameron
strong>Dear Cameron: The most common problem with chattering wiper blades is not the blade --it's the angle that the blade swipes across the windshield. If the blade is chattering on the down stroke, then the end of the wiper arm has to be bent so the rubber wiper edge will trail slightly. If the chatter is on the up stroke, then again, a simple bend in the arm should take care of the problem. The slight bend is made with a small adjustable wrench, slipping the wrench over the arm an inch down from where the blade connects to the arm. I have never had any problems with the Bosch blades and sold many over the years. The new generation of frameless beam style blades seems to the best. The use of some rain clearing glass products will also cause chatter during light rain drizzle.
strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 1999 Lexus 300 with 114,528 miles. It runs well and is in perfect condition, however, about 8 months ago I started to detect a smell, much like hot tar. It seems to come from under the car. This tar-like smell is only present when slowing and sitting at traffic stops. There is no sign of a leak. Visits with the dealer and reputable garages have failed to solve the problem. It does seem to help when the a/c is set for inside air circulation. Any suggestions? Martha
strong>Dear Martha: Some of the older V-6 Toyota engines have small oil leaks on the rear valve cover and power steering pumps. In some cases the leaking fluid is burned off and does not leak on the ground. Some oil can also be burned in the exhaust system from internal engine wear. You should switch to high-mileage oil, which may help eliminate the smell.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2004 Buick Rainer. The speedometer went out. Tried to reset. Didn't work. I called the dealership; they said it would be around$ 900.00 to fix it. I went online and found issues with the gauges, but no recall. How can I fix the speedometer? James
strong>Dear James: Welcome to the world of electronics. Dash clusters are a problem in many vehicles. I handle these problems by taking the dash cluster out. I either get help from the local GM dealer or send it out to a local electronic rebuilding company. The downside is the car might not run with the dash removed. This means the car may be stuck at the shop for a few days. The repair price will vary by vehicle.
strong>Dear Doctor: Which engine is more durable and reliable: a four-cylinder or six-cylinder? I've had V-6 engines in the past (Lexus, Toyota and Mercury) and I have also had I-4's (Toyota and currently a 2010 Hyundai Sonata). Your expertise on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Sean
strong>Dear Sean: The recent updates of both four- and six-cylinder engines have been amazing. The choice of the engine is dependent on the driver's needs and demands. Gas mileage, highway driving, carrying a cargo load or family all play a role in the buyer's selection of the engine size. Either engine is reliable and should give many trouble free miles.
strong>Dear Doctor: I'm thinking about purchasing a Hyundai Sonata with a turbocharged engine. About 20 years ago, I had a turbo engine car and the prevailing wisdom at the time was to let turbo engines idle before shutting them off. I remember this as being quite a nuisance. Does this advice still apply to turbocharged engines of today? Tom
strong>Dear Tom: I like turbocharged engines and own a couple of turbo-powered cars, as well as a couple with superchargers. Today's turbo's run much cooler than the turbo's of the past. Combine that with the new synthetic oils and we are trouble free. As for the letting the engine idle after driving the car, as long as you did not just come off the racetrack you can shut the engine right off. The recommended oil change intervals from the factory are usually very generous, but I personally recommend cutting the factory oil change interval in half. This may seem overkill, but it's good insurance for the engine.
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