The Hamilton Spectator

Answers to your car questions

- 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 DENNIS O’SULLIVAN


The body shop that you recommende­d to fix my power window turned out to be a disaster. They replaced the power window motor with a used motor from an auto place and that motor worked well for four weeks and then it quit. I went back to the body shop to see what the problem was and they told me that it was the used motor that failed and we would need to again replace it. I told them to go ahead and replace it but I was not going to pay for the motor again. They told me that it was a used motor and that there wasn’t any warranty on it and I would have to pay for it again. The fact that you recommende­d this body shop gave me great comfort but that comfort soon disappeare­d. Can you help me please?

Albert from Kitchener


I did not recommend that body shop to you. You gave me two names of body shops in your area and I told you that I cannot recommend a place that I am not familiar with but also, that I have not in the past had any complaints against either of the body shops that you mentioned. You picked the body shop yourself and it looks like you did pick the right one. At the time, you were given the choice by the body shop of either

paying for a new window motor or getting a used one from the auto recycler. You chose the used one knowing that there wasn’t any type of warranty on that electrical part. The body shop does not want to install another used window motor but if you pay for a new motor, they will install it free of charge for you. There is more good news for you! The auto recycler is going to reimburse the garage for the used motor and they will take that reimbursem­ent off the price of the new window motor.

PS: Now, aren’t you glad that you picked the right body shop?


I enjoy your column in the KW Record. I drive a 2014 Chev Equinox with 107,000 kms. It has a V6 and is a great car. I take good care of it and I am a believer in preventati­ve maintenanc­e. I

also think, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It’s been suggested by the car dealership that I have the brake lines flushed and refilled with new fluid. I really like the dealership and go there regularly. I’m only hesitant because in over 55 years of driving, I’ve never had it done before. Is this a new thing? I do trust the dealership but I’m a senior on a fixed income and I believe it might cost between two to three hundred dollars. I have the brakes checked every year and they work perfectly. Should I consider having it done for safety reasons? Your advice would be most welcomed.

Thanks for your time, Steve from Cambridge.


Brake fluid is hygroscopi­c and it can overtime absorb moisture and become contaminat­ed, lowering its boiling point to where it might turn to vapor when overheated. If this happens, your brakes can fail during a sudden stop and after about four to five minutes, your brakes will be back to normal. If the dealership has tested the boiling point/and or noticed a difference in color, they will recommend that you change the brake fluid. Most manufactur­ers recommend that you change the brake fluid every two to three years or sooner, if you are driving in hilly country or pulling a trailer. You are correct when you say that we

never used to do this years ago and while I was on the bench, I seldom ever recommende­d the brake fluid to be changed. So, what has changed? Well, to begin with, a very short answer is that in order to increase fuel efficiency, vehicles’ brake parts became lighter and thinner, therefore they will heat up more quickly than the larger brake rotors and calipers of the past. These smaller brake parts put more heat strain on the brake fluid and contaminat­e the brake fluid faster which requires it to be changed sooner than that of the past. We in Canada seldom ever required brake fluid to be changed in the past, other than on a complete brake job. Garages in England did recommend brake fluid to be changed every year because of the very small brake parts which would heat up much faster and contaminat­e the brake fluid. The dealership service manager is there to guide you on the correct maintenanc­e that your vehicle requires so do not be afraid to sit down with him or her to discuss the need for why or if you should have the brake fluid changed in your vehicle.

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