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Tire Pressure Affects Ride and Handling

By Junior Damato, December 13th, 2014

strong>Dear Doctor: I have 2015 Lexus IS 250 AWD. The recommended tire pressure is 36 psi and the max pressure is 51 psi. What is a safe increase in tire pressure? Also, I have a 1970 Buick Riviera with a recommended tire pressure of 24 psi in front, 28 psi in the rear tire (size is P235/70 15 M+S BFGoodrich Radial T/A). The maximum tire pressure is 35 psi. What is a safe increase in tire pressure? My Riviera has 40,000 miles. Should I change automatic transmission filter and differential fluid (both are original)? Tom

Manufacturer photo: 2015 Lexus IS
Manufacturer photo: 2015 Lexus IS

strong>Dear Tom: Car and truck manufacturers have their own specifications for tire size and pressure. Increasing air pressure up 3-5 pounds will change the vehicle ride and handling. I personally like the idea and practice it in my own vehicles. On older vehicles, like your Buick, 35 pounds front and rear is good. In the old days the tire make up was different than today's new tires, which is why the tire pressure was different than it is today. The transmission fluid and filter change is a good idea.

strong>Dear Doctor: I purchased a 2014 Honda Accord and after four months I went to the dealer for an oil change, I was told no oil change before 5,000 miles or one year. I do not drive 5,000 miles in a year. I always make changes every four month. Is this standard now? Gerhard

strong>Dear Gerhard: Car maintenance has changed over the years, as well as the quality of the oil we use. Engines are much more efficient and run leaner and hotter and do not contaminate the engine oil with unburned gasoline as in years gone by. Oil change time and mileage intervals have been extended by manufacturers with 4,000 to 10,000-mile intervals, and some annually, being the new normal. If you wanted to change the oil sooner you can, however, you must use the correct oil.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have an intermittent problem on my 2000 Acura RL. When turning on the automatic climate control there is a whining sound, which stops after a few seconds. There is no problem with its cooling and heating the car. The dealer service department couldn't replicate the sound, and said that unless they could hear it, they couldn't diagnose the problem. After I left, and drove for 20 minutes, I turned the system on, and of course, heard the whining sound. Help! Myrna

strong>Dear Myrna: The sound you describe could be the blower motor for the heat/air conditioning system. When you bring the car back to the dealer they can remove the blower motor to inspect it. It is located under the right side of the dash behind the glove box. The removal is simple.

strong>Dear Doctor: I recently purchased a automatic transmission vehicle after driving exclusively manual transmissions for over 35 years. My last car got 153,000 miles on the original clutch before it had to be replaced. In order to get that life in a clutch I would put the car in neutral often and rarely downshift. I'm wondering if that approach would be helpful in preserving the transmission in my new less-fun-to-drive automatic? George

strong>Dear George: Clutch replacement will vary with the of type of driving, as well as how many people drive the vehicle. You did practice all the good habits on your manual transmission vehicle. But on your new automatic transmission vehicle, I would only switch to neutral if I was stuck in a traffic jam, not in stop-and-go traffic or a stop light.

strong>Dear Doctor: In August 2012 at 99,100 miles I had the cabin filter on my 2000 Honda Accord replaced. Then in August 2014 at 103,000 miles the service recommended I replace the current filter -- that's less that 4,100 miles. Does this make sense? Howard

strong>Dear Howard: Service "recommendations" are just that. Each vehicle needs to be checked before replacing parts. Interior cabin filter replacement can range from 1 to 3 years, depending on what the driving conditions are. I have seen many vehicles in my shop driven in different conditions; some needing cabin filter replacement every year and others every 3 years. In most vehicles the cabin filter is easy to access behind the glove box, but some are under the hood at the top of firewall under a plastic mesh. I cannot believe the filter is bad in 4,100 miles unless it is full of leaves and debris.

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