In addition to brake fluid, what other fluids should I look at?



Q: I read your recent article about brake fluid and recommendations. I own a 2015 Mustang that’s more than 7-years old and has 15,000 miles on it. This is a car for weekend drives in nice weather. It’s in a heated garage when not in use.

So, the long story short about brake fluids even at 30,000 miles is this car will not see that for years. Should one expect to really leave it that long? I have spoken to car guys about oil, but the other fluids have never crossed my mind. In addition to brake fluid, what else should I look at?

A: All fluids can pick up moisture and breakdown overtime, and this is where periodic inspection of vital fluids is important.

To keep your car in near perfect condition, changing brake fluid and coolant every five years would be money well spent. At the same time, have the transmission fluid, differential and power steering fluids inspected.

Q: I own a 2004 Jeep Cherokee. Recently the car radio stopped showing the display of time and stations. I cannot see any information on the car radio screen. Otherwise, the radio works fine. I checked all the circuits, and all seemed okay. Since the car is 18-years old, I do not want to spend any money for a new radio. Is there anything else I can do to see my car radio functions?

A: I would double check all of the fuses; there are two for this vehicle.

The next no cost step would be to disconnect the power from the radio and then reconnect it and see if this helps (sometimes it will).

More than likely, the radio has a faulty circuit caused by solder failing over the years.

The next low-cost fix would be a used radio from a salvage yard.

Q: I own a 2018 Honda CR-V. When the pandemic hit, I was driving much less and started having battery issues. After two batteries and finally the replacement of an engine control module, it appears the issue is fixed.

When researching the problem, I found an article that stated it was necessary to lock the car doors, because the vehicle computer system runs “readiness” checks when the doors are unlocked. These checks will require battery power which will drain the battery over time.

Can you tell me whether my CR-V does these readiness checks? When I lock the car, the antitheft system turns on.

A: Unlike older cars that had minimal electric use when the car was shut off (radio presets and clock), today’s cars have — in some cases — up to 50 computers to monitor everything from the engine to the windows.

Although readiness checks may happen, when the car sits these electrical components “go to sleep.” In some cases, this happens in a minute or two; in other cases, it may take an hour.

The vehicle manufacturers attempt to size the vehicle’s battery to compensate for this electrical drain while balance weight, size, and cost. Locked or not, a fully charged battery in good condition should be able to start your CR-V after a month of sitting.

Q: My white 2017 Hyundai Sonata has an issue with the paint peeling. I have reached out to Hyundai to no avail. I was wondering if you have heard of this problem with these cars.

A: Older Hyundai models had a similar issue with the white paint (mostly on the roof). In fact there was a class action lawsuit filed against Hyundai (later dismissed).

The white paint is actually four layers of paint. As in all cars, there is a primer coat, followed by a base color, then a topcoat of white and finished off with a clear coat.

It is my understanding that even with the multiple layers of paint, the sun’s ultraviolet light causes the primer to chalk and the paint peels.

The paint has a 3-year warranty, but over the years, I have heard of vehicle owner’s contacting the manufacturer about this problem and agreeing to a three-way split in the cost (Hyundai, Hyundai dealer and the customer) to repair the damaged areas. Certainly, worth a try on a fairly new vehicle.

AAA’s Car Doctor, John Paul

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.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Car Doctor: In addition to brake fluid, what other fluids should I look at?


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