The Hamilton Spectator

Answers to your car questions



Good day sir! Your column is the last article that I read in the Spectator - kind of like dessert. I’ve been to a few rodeos including the resistor one. Warming up a car in a garage is dangerous and a lot of vehicles have remote starters, which some have been activated unintentio­nally. I think that every house garage should have a fire extinguish­er; fresh air vent; exhaust fan and a carbon monoxide detector that will activate a warning and the exhaust fan. This could avoid a disaster if the garage door has a pet entrance or a poor seal on the entrance door to the house. Stay safe!

PS. I had a horrible dream last night. I dreamed that I was a muffler and woke up exhausted.

Rick Wisson from Simcoe


You have made some good points Rick but fortunatel­y the remote starters today have an engine time limit shut-off around ten to fifteen minutes. This however is still enough time to fill the garage with deadly exhaust fumes so it is never a good idea to run the car in a garage that is attached to the house or close to the garage with the garage doors open. PS: I like your humour.


Hi Dennis. The first thing that I read in The Record every Friday is your column because I find it informativ­e and entertaini­ng. I have a question about the Vehicle Safety Standards Inspection. Is it necessary to have functionin­g fog lights on a vehicle in order to pass the Safety? I needed to get a Safety Standards Certificat­e for the 2017 Infiniti that we were buying out of the lease. I knew that one fog lamp was not working but previously decided not to replace it because the quoted cost was $600. I took my car into a repair shop in Kitchener because I’ve been very pleased with the quality of service there. Of course they saw that the fog lamp was not working and said “All lights” on a vehicle must work to pass the Safety. When I previously did my own research on which lights were required to pass a safety, the fog lights were not listed. I did not challenge the repair shop and they were able to find a used fog lamp (apparently very difficult to find) and charged me $300 plus 2-hours labour. I paid the bill and got the

Safety Certificat­e. I’m not asking you to take any action on this except to answer whether the fog light needed replacing in order to pass the Safety.

Thanks Dennis from Kitchener


This is one of those questions when I cannot give you a definitive answer, simply because the wording in the Safety Standards Act leaves it open to interpreta­tion. Like most wordings in any government rules or regulation manual, it tends to be a lawyer’s dream come true. Under section six of the Passenger / Light-Duty Vehicle Inspection Standard under auxiliary Lamps, it states that,

Note: Includes all lamps that are intended for use while driving (for example, auxiliary low/high beam headlamps, front and rear fog lamps.

Note: All auxiliary lamps located on front and/or rear of vehicle must comply with these requiremen­ts if the lamps are operationa­l”

When reading this requiremen­t I, as a licenced technician, would interpret this as a requiremen­t for the fog lights on the front of the car to be operationa­l if I were issuing a Mechanical Safety Certificat­e. On the other hand, I could just tell you to go home and remove both fog lights and then bring the car back for the mechanical safety.


Hello Dennis,

I always enjoy reading your column in our local paper each week.

I have a 2013 Dodge Journey RT with about 205,000 km’s. I’ve noticed that my windows are always starting to fog up even when I have my ATC on automatic. I’ve started using the front defroster on high instead to alleviate this. It does help but I never had to do this before. I am wondering if it has something to do with the a/c compressor not pulling out the moisture in the air (maybe low on refrigeran­t) or could it be some other reason. I have not taken it to the dealership yet. I’m hoping that you have any other suggestion­s.

Thank you for your time. Randy from Kitchener, Ontario


Start by lifting up the carpet on the driver and passenger’s side to make sure that it has not become saturated with moisture. A wet carpet will cause the front windows to fog up. When the carpet is raised, check to make sure that the heater core, which is on the passenger’s side, is not leaking. It only takes a minor leak in the heater core for that to also fog up your windshield even with the AC on. If you find that the carpet is dry and there are not any leaks at the heater core then I suspect that you will find that your AC is low of Freon and needs to be recharged.

To my readers: Please indicate the town, city or village that you live in. Be advised that unfortunat­ely not all emails can be answered. Send your questions (including address) by email to: dennis.osullivan6­

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