Ask the Car Doc: Is My Man-Cave Safe?

Q. I am considering buying a 2010 Acura MDX with 87,000 miles on it and was wondering if it would be a good purchase? Let me know your thoughts about the high mileage and your thoughts on the reliability and how much more miles you think we can get out of it.

A. The Acura MDX is a very dependable vehicle and with regular maintenance we see MDX and its corporate twin the Honda Pilot routinely reach 250,000 miles. Replacing the timing belt at 105,000 miles is required and somewhat pricey repair that will be necessary in the next year or two, depending on how you drive. Certainly have the car looked over by a repair shop before purchasing it, noting any possible problems. With just some regular maintenance and care you should get plenty of life out of your MDX.

Q. I have a couple of old cars in storage (my man-cave) and although it is a secure area I still worry about theft. In fact the building next to mine had several sets of old aluminum wheels stolen (probably for scrap). I do have a basic alarm but is there some other economical way to keep an eye on things? I hate the idea of paying a monthly fee for monitoring.

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A. I recently have been trying out the SwannEye ADS 455 Wi-Fi camera ( Unlike some security cameras this one sets up quite easily using a smart phone and a QR code. The camera allows day or night viewing and will save video or photos to an optional micro SD card or email photos if the camera detects movement. You will of course need electricity and a wired or Wi-Fi internet connection but if you already have this in your man-cave you are set to go.

Q. I purchased a used 2010 Infiniti G37x several months ago and the car has just about 16,000 miles on it. All of a sudden the car’s horn makes a low “beep” instead of a loud “honk”. I took it to the dealer and the work order stated: found low horn inoperative due to break in ground circuit, re-soldered to correct concern. My question is, will this repair be permanent or should the harness have been replaced?  I would greatly appreciate it if you can respond in your column.

A. I’m perfectly comfortable with soldering as a repair. A properly repaired circuit should be serviceable for the life of the car. Keep in mind that nearly everything electronic has a soldered joint.

Q. I recently took my car to a local auto service for an oil change and the shop made service recommendations that I now fear I did not need. I own a 2005 Acura TSX with about 78,000 miles on it. Their recommendation was to have the power steering fluid and the brake fluid exchanged, as they said the fluids looked dirty. I agreed, but when the invoice came at $227.00, I started thinking that maybe they just needed to make a sale. What I am trying to confirm is whether or not their recommendation was necessary?

A. There is no specific recommendation from Acura to replace the brake or power steering fluid as routine service during the life of the car (although interestingly some Honda models do). If the fluid is dirty or contaminated it certainly makes sense to change it but it may not have been necessary. One additional item that may be worth looking into, some Acura TSX models had a recall in the power steering hose. You should check with the dealer to see if your car is involved in this recall.

Q. I was told by a local Ford dealer that a law prohibits a floor mat to be on top of a mat on the driver’s side. They removed the floor mat and I had to put it back. Do you know of any such law? 

A. There is no such law. Now with that said, this was one of the possible reasons that some Toyota products may have had unintended acceleration issues. In the case of some Toyota models the extra thick floor-mats were getting stuck on top of the gas pedal. You might want to make sure that the floor mats are properly secured to keep any possible gas pedal interference to a minimum.