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Tire Pressure Talk: Baby It's Cold Outside

By Junior Damato, November 28th, 2015

strong>Dear Doctor: My problem is with my Tire Pressure Monitoring System on a 2013 Toyota Camry. When the outside temperature drops below 50 degrees the dashboard tire monitor symbol comes on. Once the outside temperature rises above 50 degrees the dashboard symbol goes off. Even though the TPMS icon is illuminated the pressure is fine on all four tires. Can something be done about this or is it something I have to learn to live with? Brian

Manufacturer photo: 2013 Toyota Camry
Manufacturer photo: 2013 Toyota Camry

strong>Dear Brian: This a common complaint with all vehicles during cold weather conditions when the tire pressure is at the low pressure limit. Some tires will lose around 1 pound per month -- even more in the cold winter months. You will need to check the tires when they are cold. Your local dealership can help you with this: Inflate the tires to the cold temperature setting and TPMS should be fine and the light should stay out.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2001 Ford Escape that has a cold misfire and it runs lean until I drive it 2 miles and then as the engine warms up the vehicle starts to run fine. I replaced the spark plugs/coilpacks, but it still runs rough when cold. Please help. Robert

strong>Dear Robert: I see a lot of lean conditions, fault codes and cold engine misfires. The most common problem is a vacuum leak at the plastic intake manifold seal to the engine cylinder head. Another common problem is a vacuum leak at the PCV elbow hose. A skilled technician will inspect the engine and also use a smoke machine to find the source of the vacuum leak.

strong>Dear Doctor: I recently purchased cheap replacement wiper blades for only $3 from my local auto parts store and now the blades chatter when I use them. The former blades were three years old and worn out. The auto store did have blades that were $15. Do you think the problem is the cheaper wiper blade? Marty

strong>Dear Marty: Yes, I see this problem when car owners try to save some money and buy the inexpensive wiper blades. There are new style wiper blades, called beam style blades, that have covered metal frames and they work great in most cases. When installing the new style blade on older vehicles with the exposed steel frame it is a good idea to shorten the length on the right side blade 2 inches to allow for the curve on the lower part of the windshield. The more expensive wiper blades have a better quality rubber on the wipe edge on the blade and flex -- and in most cases eliminate the chatter. If chatter is still present, then the wiper arm needs a slight bend in the opposite direction of the chatter. The chatter can also be caused from the angle the wiper edge is moving, which is why the wiper arm needs to be bent slightly.

strong>Dear Doctor: Now that we are back on Standard Time, I leave home early in the morning before daylight and then return after 5 p.m. when it's dark. I drive a 2005 Jeep Wrangler and the headlights are not very bright. What can I do to get a brighter light? Steve

strong>Dear Steve: A few months ago I got in touch with the people at Sylvania regarding my own 2006 Jeep Wrangler with the same concern. I did not want to mount any other lights on my Wrangler. Their public relations department asked me to try some of Sylvania's LED lights and their HID Attitude Xenon Fueled headlights. They also gave me tail, blinker and interior LED bulbs to try. The LED replacement headlights in the Wrangler shine a clean white light and the Silver Star ZXE headlight replacement bulbs also make a big difference.

strong>Dear Doctor: I might be considering the purchase of a new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4x4. Do you have an opinion on this model? Roger

strong>Dear Roger: I personally own a 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, so driving the 2015 model showed me that the Jeep has been improved in every way possible. The new 3.6-liter V-6 yields 16 city, 20 highway mpg, coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 4-wheel drive system is part-time and requires an easy pull of the shift lever to place it into 4WD. The 2015 Jeep tester felt stable driving on and off highway ramps and not tipsy like my personal Unlimited 2006 model. The new top design is a great idea, as either front passenger can remove the split roof section and store it in the Jeep. Of course you can still take the door and rest of the metal roof off for open air driving. There are plenty of Wranglers out there and they do hold their value even at the auctions.

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