The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Car Doctor Q&A

- Got a car question, email the Car Doctor for a personal reply. jpaul@ aaanorthea­

QIn 2021, I purchased a 2018 Lexus RX 350 with 19,600 miles on it and I’m having problems with the automatic windshield wipers. They are supposed to turn on in the rain without having to turn on the switch. They sometimes work and other times not. The windshield had been replaced with an aftermarke­t windshield. On my first regular maintenanc­e visit here in North Carolina, I asked to have that looked at. They told me that it’s not part of the regular maintenanc­e and I would have to have the dealership check it. They did not tell me the cause of the problem. I live in North Carolina and New York and the car was purchased in New York at a dealership a hundred miles away. This past summer I visited a local Lexus dealership in NY and was told about the windshield replacemen­t. Is there any way to fix the problem without replacing the windshield?


Today, nearly every replacemen­t windshield is aftermarke­t glass, and most are very good quality. Still, it is easy to blame the aftermarke­t windshield but, in my experience, if it is an intermitte­nt issue the problem is usually the rain sensor located behind the windshield. There are some very specific tests that can be performed to determine if the sensor is working properly.


I own a 2017 Mazda 6 GT and I’m very happy with this car. However, it has no trunk light, and this has become a problem for me. The owner’s manual indicates where the light is placed and how to change the bulb. So, on a recent visit to the dealership, I inquired. They told me the car didn’t come with a trunk light. This seems crazy but I’m wondering if one can be installed. The dealer had no solution, but I wonder if you might. Any guidance is appreciate­d.


Checking both the owner’s manual and the shop manual I don’t see any mention that the trunk/cargo light was an option in 2017. The cargo room light is turned on by the rear body control module. The first thing I would do is see if the wiring is in place for the actual lamp, if it is then adding a lamp should be easy enough. If there is no wiring in place, you could add a tilt switch and a lamp, similar to what older cars used. The other option would be a battery powered light that people mount in closets and cupboards.


What do you know about the Hyundai Elantra Nedition. Is it really as “hot” as the advertisin­g makes it look? A

The Hyundai Elantra is a very good vehicle, but it N-trim transforms it into a very unique ride. With a 276horsepo­wer turbo-charged engine and eight-speed dual clutch transmissi­on, this translates into a very impressive small sports sedan. The New Elantra body is a decidedly good looking car and with the performanc­e upgrades of the N package make it a fun, impressive car to drive.

Q I am looking to buy a new vehicle with all-wheel drive and am unsure how it operates. Do all the wheels spin at the same revolution­s all the time

or does it depend on the surface conditions? Also, which is better AWD with RWD or AWD with FWD?

AAll wheel drive or four-wheel drive is really a bit of a misnomer. Generally, in slippery conditions one front wheel and one rear wheel turn, in some cases three wheels -two in the rear one in the front. Subaru had one of the best explanatio­ns, when needed engine power transfers from the wheels that slip to wheels that grip. Today all-wheel drive system are mostly full time and in many cases bisased to the front wheel. In these vehicles the system switches between twoand four-wheel-drive mode, some vehicles have a center differenti­al lock for low speed driving in the snow. All wheel drive sports sedans are typically rear wheel drive biased. Crossover utility vehicles are usually front wheel drive biased and heavier duty vehicle are usually rear drive biased. For most drivers looking for all-wheel-drive, front wheel drive biased systems work out fine.


I have a 2010 Toyota Tacoma bought new that is driven about 3000 miles per year. It runs well and I follow the service intervals in the owner’s manual. My problem is that once a year I have it serviced at the dealer for oil and filter, tire rotation and NYS required emissions inspection. Invariably, the service rep reports that I need additional service. One year it was leaking struts, another dealer said timing belts and hoses, another time wheel alignment, and recently, headlight rejuvenati­on and air cabin filter change both of which I had just done myself. All were politely declined. The funny thing is that no two reps ever noted what the previous reps said I needed! I realize that this is a business but this behavior smacks of outright fraud. If this is commonplac­e, there must be millions of dollars spent on unnecessar­y repairs every year.


I like to think most repair shops and dealership­s are honest and there is plenty of actual repair work needed without recommendi­ng unnecessar­y repairs. Unfortunat­ely, Service advisors are in many cases commission­based salespeopl­e. Also, some advisers only look are work that was performed previously. As an example, you turn down an air filter replacemen­t three years in a row, so by now your vehicle must need a air filter, since their records show you never changed it. My suggestion is always ask to see the old parts and ask, why something needs replacemen­t.

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