Even Honda parts start to fail af­ter 17 years

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Puzzles - BY RAY MAGLIOZZI

Dear Car Talk: The driver- side win­dow on my 2002 Honda Ac­cord sud­denly rolled down on its own. Although I could hear a noise when I pressed the win­dow switch, the win­dow wouldn’t roll up!

The Honda dealer had to re­move the door panel and re­place the win­dow reg­u­la­tor at a cost of more than $500. My ser­vice ad­viser said that in four years of work­ing for Honda, he had seen only one other car with this same win­dow mal­func­tion!

My hus­band and I have never ex­pe­ri­enced this prob­lem with all the cars that we have owned through­out the years, and I was won­der­ing if you were fa­mil­iar with this? — Inge

Hon­das are very re­li­able cars, but that doesn’t mean you can go 17 years without a sin­gle part fail­ing. We’ve re­placed plenty of win­dow reg­u­la­tors over the years. And some of them on Hon­das.

The reg­u­la­tor is a metal, scis- sors-like mech­a­nism in­side the door that holds the win­dow glass. When you push the win­dow but- ton, it folds and un­folds to move the win­dow up and down. Due to cor­ro­sion, af­ter an eon or two, the welds will break, and the win­dow will fall down into the door.

It’s al­most al­ways the driver’s door reg­u­la­tor that fails. Why? Be­cause that’s the one that gets the most use. When you’re driv­ing alone, you use it. When you stop at a toll booth, you use it. When you want to prac­tice your foul lan- guage on a guy who cut you off, you roll down the driver’s win­dow.

The price you paid sounds a lit­tle high to me. Next time, you might want to shop around. But I don’t think you can re­ally com- plain too much about a win­dow reg­u­la­tor that failed af­ter 17 years.

I’d fo­cus on the up­side. You now have a new win­dow reg­u­la­tor that should take you clean through the 2036 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. ***

Dear Car Talk: I have a 2019 Buick En­clave. One of its many fea­tures is the au­to­matic en­gine shut­off when I stop. It’s not some­thing I love, but I eventu- ally got used to it.

Yes­ter­day I came across a dis- cus­sion on Face­book, and there were hun­dreds of rants about why it was no good. “It doesn’t save gas,” “It will re­quire re­place­ment of starters and associated parts,” “It’s bad for the bat­tery,” etc.

Many men­tioned the lack of heat or air con­di­tion­ing while stopped, although mine starts back up if needed. Oth­ers men- tioned hold­ing up traf­fic while you restart, which, of course, is not true.

So, is this a gim­mick, or does it re­ally save gas? — Tom

Ah, I see the Rus­sian trolls are us­ing Face­book to try to di­vide the

Amer­i­can peo­ple over im­por­tant is­sues again.

It does save some gas, Tom. Stud­ies show it im­proves fuel econ­omy by a few per­cent­age points. That makes sense, right?

Let’s say you’re stopped at a light or in traf­fic about 3%-5% of the time you’re driv­ing — now you’re not us­ing any gas dur- ing those stops. You’re also not put­ting any wear and tear on your en­gine, which is nice. More im­por­tantly, you’re not cre­at­ing any air pol­lu­tion. And if we’re col- lec­tively cut­ting ve­hi­cle pol­lu­tion by 3-5%, that’s a pretty big win.

These sys­tems have been around for five to 10 years now, and we haven’t seen any in­crease in starter or bat­tery replacemen­ts yet. It could hap­pen, but we’ve seen noth­ing to sug­gest it yet. And be­cause warm en­gines are so easy to start (they restart in a frac­tion of a se­cond), there’s re­ally very lit­tle ad­di­tional de­mand on the starter and bat­tery.

The only real down­side we’ve found is that the restart (on some cars) can be a bit an­noy­ing. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers haven’t ex­e­cuted these sys­tems as smoothly as oth­ers. Buick and GM ac­tu­ally do it pretty well, but on some cars, you can feel a lit­tle shud­der ev­ery time the car restarts.

The heat­ing and cool­ing fan keeps run­ning (along with im­por­tant ac­ces­sories like the seat heaters and the ra­dio) when the en­gine shuts off. And if the tem­per­a­ture in the cabin gets out of its ac­cept­able range (which it rarely does dur­ing a 60 se­cond traf­fic light), the en­gine will turn it­self back on.

As you’ve dis­cov­ered, restart- ing is in­stan­ta­neous, as soon as you take your foot off the brake, so there’s no mak­ing any­body wait be­hind you. In fact, a BMW we drove re­cently uses its au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing sen­sor to tell when the car in front of you starts mov­ing, and it restarts the car when it sees that, even be­fore you take your foot off the brake. Pretty smart!

So, we’re with you, Tom. We don’t love these sys­tems, but we got used to them. The en­v­i­ron- men­tal ben­e­fits alone make the case for ev­ery­body us­ing them.

Got a ques­tion about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Fea­tures, 628 Vir­ginia Drive, Or­lando, FL 32803, or email by vis­it­ing the Car Talk web­site at www.cartalk.com.

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