The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Car Doctor Q&A

- John Paul, Senior Manager, Public Affairs and Traffic Safety, AAA Northeast

Q I have 2018 GMC Denali pick up with Bridgeston­e Duellers A/V RHS P28545R221­1OH M&S Treadwear 400 Traction B Temperatur­e B. with 40,000 miles on the tires. It’s a little squirrely in the rain. I know I’m going to need tires soon. Should I stay with this brand or something with a little more grip.

A The Bridgeston­e Duellers are a pretty good all-around tire, of course as so, there are some compromise­s. The Michelin Defender LTX might be a good alternativ­e, reviews show they are not quite as good off road but have a higher mileage rating and quieter ride and reportedly good in the rain. The Goodyear Wrangler and Parelli Scorpion tires also look like they would be a good choice with good traction and mileage numbers.

Q I purchased a 2002, ZO6 Corvette in Electron Blue back in June, any have only driven it five times. The flood waters of Ida, came and went, leaving the water soaking over the seats. Everyone is telling me to let the insurance company total it. I love my car. What are your thoughts?

A It really depends on how contaminat­ed the water is. If it was salt water then it would be automatica­lly totaled, although with fresh water you have a chance. You need to take all the seats out and carpet and let everything dry out. The electronic­s may be okay if as long as you let them all dry out. Now if it was brackish or heavily contaminat­ed water then it could be more problems. But you do want to dry out the car as much as possible as to not have mold and mildew growing in the car. I have seen people take interiors of cars out, wash the car with soap and water and then dry everything and have a perfectly workable and dependable car.

Q Our 2021 Toyota Camry has been driven less than 3000 miles. We expect to leave it in our garage for 9weeks starting in January 2022. I should probably have the engine oil changed prior to January but don’t know what else to do. I suggested disconnect­ing the battery, but my Toyota service consultant said not to do so. He suggested a using a trickle charger which I do not want to do, because it would be unattended for the 9 weeks. I would appreciate any recommenda­tions.

A Start with changing the oil, fill the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer (Sta-bil is one), inflate the tires to the maximum amount on the side of the tire (tires lose a pound or two each month) depending on where you live put a moisture absorber pack in the car to remove moisture. If you are up north and going south not needed. I would put a float style battery charger on the battery. These are designed to be plugged in and they will not over charge the battery. Battery Tender is one. (I have one on a VW right now in Florida). Even in a garage a car cover is not a bad idea, it helps keep dust out.

Q I put a shovel in the back seat of my car and put about a two-inch gash in the leather/pleather/vinyl on my Volkswagen. Do I need to replace the seat and short of duct tape or a seat cover can it be fixed without replacing the seat?

A local upholstery shop quoted me nearly $900 to redo the seat. A There are kits that allow you to mend and then blend color and grain to the seat. My experience is that you get a pretty good but usually not a perfect match. The DIY kits usually sell for less than $20. The other option is search salvage yards and ebay it is possible you may find a color matching used seat cushion for $200-$300.

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