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How to Remove Wax Residue from Plastic Trim

By Junior Damato, September 27th, 2014

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2011 GMC Terrain. There is quite a bit of gray plastic trim on the exterior of the vehicle. I try extremely hard not to get wax on them when I wax the truck, but there is still some residue from the wax that remains on the trim and is almost impossible to remove. Do you know of any way that the wax can safely be cleaned from the trim pieces? I've tried alcohol and nail polish remover, but neither seems to work. Any suggestions? Lloyd

Manufacturer photo: 2011 GMC Terrain
Manufacturer photo: 2011 GMC Terrain

strong>Dear Lloyd: There are many plastic trim cleaners on the market. The use of a car wash soap and a small brush will clean the old wax off the trim panels. Once you have the trim cleaned, use a good quality trim cleaner/sealant on the rim. Next time, before you wax the SUV again, protect the trim by taping it off with the blue masking tape available at any hardware store. The blue masking tape peels right of without leaving any residue.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2008 Corvette with around 10,000 miles. The car is garaged and used only in good weather. The Goodyear run-flat tires are original and are nearly 7 years old. How do I know when they need to be replaced? They look okay with plenty of tread and seem to be fine. What are your thoughts on replacement? Lloyd

strong>Dear Lloyd: I also own some older cars with the original tires and they still look great and have plenty of tread. Over the last few years, however, there has been much talk about the life of tire rubber but no convincing time frame of replacement has been given. My 2004 pickup with 30,000 miles stays outside during the hot summer and cold winter. The sidewalls now have a lot of large cracks, though the tread is still very good. These tires are no longer road worthy and the truck is not driven on the street. With your tire sidewalls and tread still good, I would have no problem keeping the tires on the car. However, keep a watchful eye on them, or check with your trusted tire technician for advice.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2013 Mustang V-6 and I only put about 1,500 miles a year on it. I hear all different recommendations regarding how often the oil should be changed. I want to do the right thing, but, it seems like a waste of money to change the oil at six months when I only put 750 miles on the car. Any advice? Jay

strong>Dear Jay: I recommend switching over to full-synthetic oil with fewer change intervals. Do it each year in the fall before you put it away for the long winter months. The reason for changing it in the fall is so the acids and contaminants do not eat away any of the internal bearings. You should also keep the battery charged during the winter or disconnect it (make sure it is charged before you disconnect). You should also use a gas stabilizer additive when storing the vehicle.

strong>Dear Doctor: At what rates of speed do vehicles get the best possible gas mileage, and why is it good for engines to be driven at higher speeds on the freeway or interstate occasionally? Brian

strong>Dear Brian: Today's modern engines utilize engine and transmission tuning to determine the most fuel-efficient speed for engines. Here's the quick explanation: In the old days, cars had three- and four-speed transmissions and engines that not only burned more gas, but also more unburned gas ended up in the crankcase (engine oil). The diluted oil caused accelerated wear to the engine. When the engine was run at higher speeds it would help clear out some of the diluted oil and clean the spark plugs, pistons, valves, and combustion chamber. Today's engines run at higher temperatures and, with fast-operating computers, run very lean. Combine that with the six- to nine-speed automatic transmissions and you can achieve great gas mileage at any highway speed. However, it is still a good idea to accelerate quickly when entering onto an expressway to help clean the engine and exhaust system.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 1998 Chevy K2500 Suburban. The middle seat is split 65/35 with the smaller right side being the smaller section. This right side is equipped with a slide/back tilt button, allowing access to the third bench seat. When our kids were small this allowed easy access, but they're now all over 6 feet tall, making the entry to the third seat complicated. I would like to remove the right-side one-third seat section, but cannot identify the two lateral bolts that hold the seat in either from above or below. Are these bolts accessible or must I use a saw to remove the hardware and grind down the exposed metal to get a smooth surface? Steven

strong>Dear Steven: The seat is held in place with bolts that can be unbolted from the inside, not from under the vehicle. If you cannot locate them, then find an auto upholstery shop or auto repair shop to show you where the bolts are located. Once the seat is removed, you may also choose to remove the sliding track, if needed.

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