Weekly auto rail, with car checkup tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
Two key components in any vehicle are the braking system and the battery. AutoZone experts offer the following tips to ensure these vital parts are properly maintained.
- Give brakes a checkup. Excessive build-up of road salt and brine solutions in the winter on brake components is one cause of brake failure. These solutions can create contamination of exposed brake parts and can cause brake components to deteriorate prematurely. Hazardous road conditions can also lead to increased use of antilock braking systems, which can cause premature wear of all brake system components.
- In general, brakes are the most important safety feature on any vehicle and should be checked quarterly to ensure proper performance. Brake pads and rotors should also be checked any time the tires are removed, such as during a tire rotation. Other brake components such as brake fluid should be checked at every oil change.
- A battery's biggest enemy is heat. High temperatures can cause the grids inside batteries to corrode and break down. The effects of the corrosion are usually seen when winter hits, when the car requires more electrical power to start. Drivers should have batteries tested up to twice a year in normal climates, and more frequently in extremely hot or cold climates.
- While batteries can last more than five years in ideal driving conditions, factors such as temperature, the car's age and nature of usage can impact the life of a battery. Many motorists are unaware that under the stress of normal city driving, the average life of a vehicle battery is about three years.
According to an annual dependability report by J.D. Power and Associates, the top vehicles this year are:
Did You Know
Japan-based Nissan said recently it would check all its vehicles for radiation before it shipped them.
Q: I drive a 2010 Passat. Its radio reception of a local station suddenly cuts out. At first I thought it was due to distance from their transmission towers, but I have reception problems in another town, too. VW replaced the radio, and their computer can’t find another cause, so I continue to lose reception on one of my favorite radio stations. No other station is affected this way. Any ideas on how to rectify the problem?
A: Radio signals from stations are affected by EMI electronic interference, as are computers. There are some radio stores that sell antenna boosters that go between the radio and antenna. These boosters do work.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service