Why is the low-tire pressure icon still lit up?
Q: I had a low-tire-pressure icon illuminate on my dashboard when it got cold outside. I waited quite a while to address it, had the tires looked at, and filled them to capacity. They all needed a little air.
In the past when this would happen — after driving a short distance — the icon would disappear. I’ve driven it a few hundred miles, and the icon still is on. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Depending on the system (direct or indirect) there could b e a faulty sensor, or the system needs to have the TPMS reset.
After all the tires are checked with a gauge (also check the spare) and inflated to the proper pressure, most systems will reset.
If the system is an indirect type, look in the vehicle owner’s manual for a TPMS reset procedure.
Q: The new road salt that is used is hard to remove from my car windows. Though I keep wiping with a new wet paper towel, the white swirl marks remain but just get shifted around to a different spot. I also see that the salt is leaving permanent swirl marks on the window. Any suggestion?
A: It used to be that when the roads were getting slippery, highway departments would spread salt to add to traction and lower the freezing point of water. Now they are using magnesium chloride, calcium chloride or potassium chloride.
All of these substances help reduce crashes by preventing freezing, but they can be tough on cars.
The best way to clean the salts and brine off the windshield is to start with plenty of fresh water. If the sticky substance is still an issue, try a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar. I also like to use a good foamy window cleaner like Invisible Glass or SprayWay. Once the windows are clean, go over them with a microfiber cloth.
Q: You once mentioned factory color touchup paint. When I look in my local auto parts store, I cannot find my color. What was the name of that company?
A: The company is AutomotiveTouchup, www.automotivetouchup.com. They sell everything from touchup bottles to spray cans and quarts. I have used them in the past and found the paint match to be quite good, even on an older car.
Q: My 2013 Cadillac SRX sometimes stalls and has a hard time starting. When this has happened, I’ve called AAA and the driver jump-started it. It would then run fine, until the next time.
I had it towed to a garage, spent $150 and still no improvements. I got stuck again and took it to a Cadillac dealer, where they said they found corrosion in the engine compartment. After spending another $350, I’m still having the same problem. I am at my wits’ end. What should I do?
A: I suspect the Cadillac garage was on to something with the mention of corrosion. Some of these models have had a problem with rust and corrosion. This corrosion leads to poor electrical connections and poor performance.
Although you have spent $450 in repairs so far, in today’s world of $150-per-hour labor rates there may have not been enough time spent looking for problems. I would return to the garage (dealer or independent) and have them check the starting system for poor electrical connections. This will take more than a visual inspection; a good technician will do this by performing a series of voltage drop tests.
Q: My daughter has had several Subaru Foresters. I’m thinking or getting her a Subaru Outback. In your opinion, will she be getting a lot more car for her/my money?
A: Both cars are similar, but there are some differences. The Outback is more of a station wagon, while the Forester is more of a compact SUV. The Outback is bigger but rides on a similar wheelbase. The Outback engine is more powerful but fuel efficiency will be slightly reduced.
When it comes to front-seat passenger comfort, in my opinion they are similar. Safety and electronic systems are identical, and both are fantastic winter vehicles.
She will really need to drive both and see which vehicles fit her best.
John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automobile industry and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email [email protected] and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.