Q. I’m thinking of buying a used 2001 Jaguar XK convertible. It wouldn’t be my only car. Based on your experience what do you think?
A. There was a time when about all I could say about Jaguars was that they had two of everything that broke twice as often. Although some Jaguar enthusiasts were unhappy when Ford purchased the company, quality improved remarkably with Ford’s help. My only suggestion would be to have a used car inspection performed on the car. This will help identify any pending current or future repair issues.
Q. I recently changed the antifreeze on my car with used antifreeze that I had in the garage. The bottle was capped although it was opened once. Does antifreeze go bad and did I make a mistake?
A. If the coolant was in a sealed container, there is no reason that you can’t use it. My only caution would be that the coolant is compatible for the car. Once upon a time, there were two types of coolant. Today there are at least 8 types of coolant used in different make and model cars. Using the wrong specification coolant can cause both short and long term issues with the engine’s cooling system.
Q. Hoping you can offer some solutions for me and any others in your audience who have encountered this issue. After nearly 15 years with my Toyota Corolla, it is time to buy a new car. Based on researching various car and consumer websites, my top choice is the third generation Prius. During a visit to a local dealership for a test drive, I discovered it was impossible to sit comfortably in the seat due to the head restraint. Either my neck and head were forced to tilt forward, or I could not allow my back to be against the seat. The salesperson and I attempted multiple adjustments to the seat along with adjusting the height of the head restraint. Nothing worked. More Internet searching upon my return home provided information about the 2008 law that resulted in this design for the head restraints—which also tells me any car I would buy would have the same problem. With cars having this design since 2008, there must be some workable solution without sacrificing safety, or risking neck pain. What can you suggest?
A. You are correct that since 2008 head restraint design has been changed to minimize whiplash. It appears to be a compatibility problem; some drivers find this to be more of an issue than others. I have driven several hundred new cars since 2008 and never found an issue with the head restraints. In all cars, I will adjust the head restraint to find the safest position, at times adjusting the seatback to find a comfortable angle. My only suggestion, other than reporting the issue to the National Highway Safety Administration (www.nhsta.gov), is to go to a big used car lot—CarMax or similar, and try many different late model makes to find a car that is both safe and comfortable. Readers, do you have a suggestion?
Q. I have a 2006 Honda Pilot with 80,000 miles on it. At what point should I have the timing belt replaced and water pump checked? I thought it was at 90,000 miles for that model but wanted to be sure.
A. The timing belt has a replacement interval of 105,000 miles, so your Pilot has some time left. I wouldn’t go past this interval due to the engine design. If the belt fails, it can do substantial damage to the engine. Regarding the water pump, unless there are signs of leaking now, I would just have it carefully inspected when the timing belt gets replaced.