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Factory Recommended Changes are That: `Recommended'

By Junior Damato, April 20th, 2019

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2010 Cadillac DTS has 50,000 miles. When should I change the spark plugs? Andrew

Manufacturer photo: 2010 Cadillac DTS
Manufacturer photo: 2010 Cadillac DTS

strong>Dear Andrew: Your vehicle's factory recommendation is 100,000 miles. Make sure you use only the factory ACDelco spark plug. I'm a "50,000-mile/5-year" kind of car guy, so in my opinion it's not too soon to replace your spark plugs, or perform preventive maintenance service.

strong>Dear Doctor: I've tried to find the no-wiring-needed bright LED headlight and foglight bulbs for my 2003 Subaru Forester and 2002 Honda Odyssey. Can you point me in the right direction? Troy

strong>Dear Troy: The LED replacement bulbs you're referring to are plug-and-play, which means you take out the original and install the new LED bulbs. Last fall I bought LED bulbs for my vehicles. The light is bright white, including the foglight LED replacements. Note: come wintertime the LED lights don't melt snow and ice off the headlight lens, and the light does not shine as far as the original bulbs. Even with this said, I still like the bright LED bulbs.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 1986 Ford F-150 with the V-6. It is not driven often and I buy a new battery every two to three years. It is parked on the street, which makes it difficult to hook up a trickle charger. When the battery is dead I have used an older and very bulky battery jump starter, which only seems to work when the battery still has some juice. Are the newer and much smaller lithium-ion battery packs reliable, or can you recommend another type of charger? Brian

strong>Dear Brian: You can install a master on/off switch at the battery. This type of switch works well, has been around for many years, and can be bought at any NAPA store for under $10. All you do is remove either battery cable, install the new switch, and connect the cable to the switch. It's a simple and inexpensive alternative to a battery jump-start.

strong>Dear Doctor: All of my car windows are tinted, except the front windshield. The side windows have ripples. Can I use a hair dryer to heat them and squeeze the ripples out? It's hard to see through them. Mario

strong>Dear Mario: The window tints of old used to get ripples -- and some changed color after a few years. Using a heat gun will not work. Peel off the old film, then have a professional retint the glass. The new films are thinner and less resistant to scratches, and are much easier to remove from the window, if needed. The glue on old window tints usually stayed on the glass and had to be removed with a razor blade, soap, and water.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2018 Toyota Prius with the Pre-Collision Warning System, which is on when I'm driving with cruise control. But I feel like I'm riding the brakes and possibly causing the rotors to warp. When the PCS system initiates the braking system do the rear brake lights come on? Tom

strong>Dear Tom: This is a great question. When the pre-collision system applies the brakes to slow the Prius, the brake lights will illuminate. There is no need to worry about brake rotor warpage or brake pad wear; your Prius has re-generative braking that puts voltage back into the battery when braking.

strong>Dear Doctor: I'm going to purchase a new car soon to replace my 10-year-old Buick. The models I'm interested in are either 4WD or have a turbocharged engine. I've heard that both of these can be very problematic and expensive to repair or maintain. Do you have an opinion or suggestion? J.R.

strong>Dear J.R.: First, late-model vehicles have a good warranty and are holding up better than ever. I drive a new vehicle every week for evaluation purposes. You should drive as many vehicles as you can and write down the pros and cons for each. When you narrow your choice down to a few specific vehicles, write back with the names of the Makes/Models and I will give you my opinion.

Big Drop in Fuel Mileage: Get Engine Test


Big Drop in Fuel Mileage: Get Engine Test

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2014 Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost engine. The dealership cannot tell me why my gas mileage is at 9 mpg. It was 24 mpg when I purchased it. Can you help me out? Gerald

Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention


Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2006 Ram 2500. The mileage calculator says I'm getting 30 miles per gallon in fuel economy, but I'm actually getting about 20 mpg. What should I do? Mark

Car Shakes at Idle: Check for Multiple Fault Codes


Car Shakes at Idle: Check for Multiple Fault Codes

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2009 Toyota Camry with 199,600 miles has a check engine light showing the codes P0101 and P0170. I have already replaced the MAF sensor, PCV valve, throttle body, the car's computer, O2 sensors, cam sensor, crank sensor, fuel pump, injectors, and fuel pressure regulator. I also checked for multiple vacuum or air leaks, and the cabin air filter, spark plugs, alternator, and battery have all been checked over the course of a year. Now the car has both codes showing consistently and it shakes at idle. What should we do? Cheyenne

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