strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2007 Jeep Patriot with 165,000 miles. At about 110,000 miles, there were problems with filling the fuel tank. On full force the fuel was rejected from the tank and stopped the fuel flow. The fuel would only go into the tank on the slowest manual setting only. I tried a few fuel additives thinking it might help, and the one that work the best was Seafoam. But after four months the problem started again and nothing since has worked. The fuel was rejected, the fuel additive might have been coincidental or even dissolved some crud. I gave up and I'm holding the fuel back to the slowest setting I can. It takes 15 minutes to fill up -- a great inconvenience in the winter for 10 gallons of fuel. There seems to be an air pocket or valve slowing the fuel down. Short of taking the whole fuel system apart, what do you think? Paul
strong>Dear Paul: I see many gas tank fill problems and most are connected to a faulty vent solenoid valve. When filling gas the pressure needs to vent out of the tank, or the gas backs up the fill tube. Other problems can be a faulty fill tube or rollover ball valve in the fuel tank. Your vehicle could even have a faulty vent valve without setting a fault code. There are no additives to repair this problem. Find a technician who works with Identifix and Alldata to look at the history and location of the vent solenoid for your Jeep.
strong>Dear Doctor: My car will be parked outside for six weeks after I have surgery in January (can't drive). Since January and February are the coldest months in New York what should I do to keep the car operational while I cannot drive? Martha
strong>Dear Martha: I recommend that you have someone you trust drive the car 20 miles at least one time per week. If you cannot find someone to drive your vehicle, then I recommend you get a battery maintainer. Late model vehicles will drain the battery, especially during cold months. If meeting these recommendations are not possible, then have the oil and filter changed, air placed in all tires, and have the shop charge the battery before you let it sit. Best wishes for a successful surgery.
strong>Dear Doctor: I have a low-mileage 2005 Dodge Ram Rumble Bee pickup. On start-up -- especially on colder mornings -- the gauges don't turn on. The "check gauges light" comes on. When I turn the engine off and restart it the gauges return to normal. I recently installed a remote starter. Should I be concerned that the engine is operating for 15 minutes without the gauges operating? Should I investigate a fix or live with it? Andy
strong>Dear Andy: Electronic dash cluster problems are very common on a variety of vehicles. The remote starter should not have any affect on the dash gauge problem. If you want to have the problem checked, then have the technician check for fault codes in the body control module. I send out dash clusters every week for repair. It is usually less than $300 for the total repair. Not making any repairs to this condition will not cause you any problems.
strong>Dear Doctor: I think found a good way of removing road salt from the under-carriage; I take my hose with an oscillating sprinkler attached and pull it the length of my car. Each run through I start a few feet to the right of the previous run, eventually cleaning the whole under-carriage. It gets it cleaner than my local car wash establishments. Can you recommend any other methods for removing road salt? Mitch
strong>Dear Mitch: That is a great method if you have a hose, driveway and do not need to worry about the water freezing and/or the garden hose and outside faucet freezing. On the plus side, today's vehicles have very good rust proofing at then factory. I am personally a car wash guy during the cold winter months and don't mind paying the extra buck or two for the under-carriage wash.
strong>Dear Doctor: Is there a shelf life on opened containers of fuel stabilizer, two-cycle oil, and synthetic oil? I use these products, and after a couple of months or so I take them along with the engine oil, to the hazardous waste sites. It seems like such a waste. Any suggestions? Joe
strong>Dear Joe: Most engine gas and oil additives have a very long shelf life. I have products for three years and use them as long as they are properly sealed and kept out of direct sunlight and freezing temperatures. Gasoline does have a shelf date for best results, which is 30 days. There are many boat owners and classic car owners who have gasoline that can sit for six months
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