strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2006 Honda Odyssey minivan with front-wheel drive and traction control. I want to buy snow tires for it. I know it's best to get four, but that can be very expensive. Can I get away with buying two snow tires for just the front wheels or am I better off not buying any if I can't buy all four? Bob
strong>Dear Bob: The rule of thumb is to always replace snow tires in a set of four. Here's the reason: the front-drive snow tires will have more grip than the rear all-season tires. Under certain slippery road conditions, the rear tires could lose traction and cause the vehicle to slide when coming to a stop. If your vehicle has Tire pressure monitors, then you will have to purchase new monitors each time you re-mount the tires. I live in New England and change over to snow tires at Thanksgiving on my 4x4 pickup. There is no substitute for snow tires during winter driving in the snow. There are many tire brands on the market, and many of the import tires are great too, and also offer excellent prices.
strong>Dear Doctor: I recently purchased a 2013 Ford Explorer with 88,000 miles on it. It recommends Motorcraft 5W20 Oil. I generally keep my vehicles until they have 200,000 to 300,000 miles on them. In the past I have used Castrol Oil since they have a high-mileage oil. Since the Motorcraft brand has no high-mileage oil, would you advise that I use Castrol or some other brand that has high-mileage oil? Also should I use a high-mileage filter? Motorcraft doesn't have one that I am aware of. Ron
strong>Dear Ron: Today's oils are very advanced and have lots of additives. You need to use oil that meets the factory specs, and the same holds true for the oil filter. High-mileage oil can safely be used on vehicles over 100,000 miles. I have customers with 300,000 miles who still use regular synthetic blend oil and change the oil and filter at 5,000-mile intervals.
strong>Dear Doctor: I want to keep my 2013 Audi A4 in storage in the Northeast while I winter in Florida from January to May. It will be stored outdoors with a very good vehicle cover. The car is equipped with a remote starter, and my neighbor has agreed to start the car once a week for about 10 minutes from his residence. Will running the vehicle in the cold weather for about 10 minutes have an adverse effect to the cover because of the engine heating up? I originally wanted to disconnect the battery for a period of five months. The Audi dealer discouraged that, indicating it would harm the engine's computer system. Do you agree with the Audi dealer? Rick
strong>Dear Rick: Yes, I agree with the dealer about disconnecting the battery. Letting a vehicle sit outside for the winter is not good for any vehicle. The car should be driven weekly for 30 minutes, especially on the highway. Indoor storage with a battery tender is a great idea, and yes it does cost a few bucks, but to me it is money well spent.
strong>Dear Doctor: I see several inexpensive Bluetooth, OBDII interface modules on the market that can communicate with Android devices. Have you tried any of them, and if so, do you have recommendations? Michael
strong>Dear Michael: Yes, I see a lot of these -- including some from insurance companies
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