Motormouth: Changing brake fluid more important than blinker fluid

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

October 23, 2017

Q: The maintenance guide in my 2015 Nissan Rogue calls for a brake fluid change at 10,000 miles under extreme conditions. Nissan considers expressway driving in Chicago extreme. I would say dangerous, but not extreme. Anyway, when I asked if not having it changed would void the warranty, the technician evaded answering. Is this just a way for the dealer to get money because of the free oil change and tire rotation service? What are they installing at the factory, milk?

— M.M., Chicago

A: Milk may do a body good, but makes a lousy hydraulic fluid for your brakes. If your owner’s manual states that the brake fluid should be changed, change it. If you don’t want to give your money to the dealer, go somewhere else, but make sure you keep the receipt. It will be your proof should a warranty dispute arise.

Q: I have a 2013 Nissan Rogue. Starting at about 25,000 miles (it has 40,000), the car shakes when the air conditioning is on and I come to a complete stop. I asked the dealer and they said the idle needed to be adjusted. When that didn’t work I received several answers such as Rogues are known for shaking with the air on, the hoses need to be cleaned out, or there is nothing I can do. Do you know what this could possibly be shaking from?

— S.W., Pembroke Pines, Fla.

A: When the A/C compressor runs, it needs some power from the engine. To maintain a smooth idle, the engine speed must be increased. That is the job of the fast idle control device motor. Think of it as a computer-controlled throttle kicker. If it fails, the idle will be too low and the engine will shake. Should there be any bad motor mounts, the problem will be exacerbated.

Q: Somebody recently wrote complaining about loud blinkers. Are you kidding me? They should all be loud, or maybe they should get progressively louder the longer they are on. Maybe we wouldn’t have so many people driving for miles with their turn signal on.

— R.L., St. Charles, Ill.

A: Good point, but what about the people whose blinkers don’t blink? Some folks claim that turn signals must be an extra cost option on BMWs. We can only advise that you check your blinker fluid often. (Editor’s note: There is no such thing as blinker fluid.)

Q: Got a laugh from the question about the obnoxious noise level of the Buick blinkers. I have an Enclave and took it first to Best Buy where an audio tech removed the panel covering the speakers and stuck some gum over it. That lasted about three years and recently took it to my mechanic where he put some gauze over speaker.

— D.R., Chicago

A: We’ll pass this tip along to the folks at Wrigley. We have a hunch Doublemint may be a good choice.