Q: In a recent
column, T.L. mentioned taking extended vacations every spring. We
have taken several extended vacations in the winter. I found that it
is imperative that I get the undercarriage thoroughly washed before
leaving the car parked during an extended vacation. Before I started
doing that, the rotors became severely rusted and sometimes damaged.
The problem is likely
the salt that T.L.ís car had been exposed to before it was parked.
Even if it has not snowed for several days or even weeks, there is
usually salt residue on the roads until we get heavy spring rains.
ó D.M., Morris,
A: Excellent advice.
I used to plow small parking lots with a 4X4 pickup and seldom
washed the undercarriage. When I was selling it, the buyer bargained
us down due to the amount of rust underneath.
Q: The sway bar in my
12-year-old Corolla has loosened, causing much rattling. Iím told
I can replace it for a reasonable cost but that it isnít necessary
and wonít cause any problems even if it fails. My question for you
is will this rattling cause other problems in the car?
ó S.K., Chicago
A: The rattling
probably will do no harm, but I would still suggest getting the sway
bar (more properly called an anti-sway bar) replaced. Its job is to
force the outside wheel down when cornering. Without the sway bar,
that wheel tries to rise off the road.
Q: Hereís how to
fix the problem of snow filling the bridges of your wiper blades:
Lower your window all the way, lean forward close to the steering
wheel, and stick your arm out and around to the front side of the
windshield. The next time the blade swings left, jam your fingers
under the squeegee and raise it up 2 or 3 inches off the windshield,
so that as it swings back to the right and out of your reach, it
snaps back down against the windshield.
In heavy show, you
might have to do this twice or even three times. And watch where
ó S.T., Chicago
A: Risk your safety
and that of others just to clear the snow from one wiper? You have
got to be kidding. Spend a couple more dollars and buy beam blades!
Hospital stays are way more expensive.
Q: W.S. in Lake
Forest, Ill. suggested a fan to exhaust hot interior air out of the
car. Thatís like sucking the air out of the balloon. Horst, my
German-born brother-in-law who reminds me that heís an engineer,
complains that the A/C hasnít worked in his expensive truck since
day one. Dealership states nothing is wrong every time. I mentioned
opening windows to vent hot air out. I open my window a hair; he
closes it. This little game went on for a while until I couldnít
tolerate the heat.
I opened the glove
compartment, retrieved the manual, read aloud the section about
cracking the windows open to vent the hot air out of the vehicle. Lo
and behold, the air conditioning works great.
ó O.W., Chicago
A: Any engineer worth
his salt should know that a vehicle moving through the air will
cause negative air pressure (vacuum) outside vs. the air pressure
inside the vehicle. It is similar to what keeps airplanes from
falling. Lower air pressure above the wing causes lift ó the
You may want to ask
your brother-in-law what railroad he worked for.