Q. I bought a new Honda CRV last December, but ended up driving my “winter beater” most of the time. I only have about 2500 miles on the CRV, but the engine oil had been there for almost 9 months (maybe longer). I don’t know how long the dealer had it on the lot. Should I follow the maintenance “minder” on the CRV (it said 50% oil life left), or should I go ahead and change the oil anyway? By the way, I am very impressed with your knowledge of so many makes and models of vehicles!
A. Thanks for the kind words. The oil change reminders on some cars actually measure the oil condition using an algebraic logarithm, others just look at mileage. The oil change interval recommended on your Honda, under normal driving conditions, is to change the oil every 7500 miles or at least once per year. Honda engines even under their severe service recommendation still use the once per year standard. Would it hurt to change the oil now? No. Is it necessary “by the book”? No. But, if this was my Honda I would change the oil at least twice per year.
Q. What do you think of the Buick Verano? I saw one at a local dealership and was quite impressed. Do you think this new car is enough to change the stodgy image of Buick and lure in younger buyers?
A. The new Buick looks very good, although in the spirit of full disclosure I haven’t driven one for more than an hour. My first impression was the Verano was a bit under powered compared to the competition. The 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine fell short of my expectations. The interior fit and finish was very nice and the seats were comfortable and supportive. The proportions and style of the Verano have design that stands out in a crowd without being brash. Those buyers looking for more power won’t have to wait too long, a 250 horsepower variant will be offer in the very near future. Will the new Buick bring a younger buyer? Buick needs more than just a good product, the buying experience and service needs to be world class to lure and keep customers in this very competitive segment.
Q. I have a 2011 Ford Taurus, which I drive about 30,000 miles a year due to work. Because of my lack of time and convenience, I have my car regularly serviced at the dealership. The past several times I have had the car serviced, the dealership has recommended a fuel injector cleaning service and a fuel induction service. They are quite pricey services. Are they needed? They make sense to me from my knowledge of carbon and deposit buildup, but, if I don't have to, I would rather put the money elsewhere. What are your thoughts?
A. This is another case where it won’t hurt but may not be necessary. In fact, nowhere in the factory maintenance schedule does Ford recommend those services.
Q. A large box of coins tipped over in the backseat of my van. Many of them fell through holes in the floor and now slide around the very bottom of the car body. When I asked the dealership to remove them, they said it would be a very expensive proposition, since they would have to remove the seats, the carpet, and the floor in order to reach them. Can you think of any other solutions?
A. This question comes up every few years with screws and nails but this is the first with coins. If you can’t see the coins and snag them with something sticky there are a couple of other solutions. Squirt undercoating or expandable foam into the space between the floors. Once you add the undercoating or foam drive aggressively and try to get the coins to shift around and get stuck in the goo. This should at least trap the coins and keep them from rattling around.