motormouth bob weber
Q: I bought a new Honda Fit this past spring. It is nice and all, but I don't have heated seats like my old VW Golf and my car is parked on the street. Is there something I can get to solve this problem?
A: We have a hunch you got the Honda Fit EX model, on which heated seats are not an option. On the EX-L model, heated seats come standard. About the only option available to you is to have aftermarket heating pads installed, but your seat covers are glued to the cushions, preventing heated pads from being installed between the cushion and cover. Therefore, you may have to install the pads under a set of aftermarket seat covers. Sound like a hassle? Yeah, it is. Keep in mind that such alterations may also interfere with the seat belt sensor system.
Q: I was interested in your reader's suggestion that Off can be used to remove tree sap from a car. I discovered that rubbing alcohol or methanol works quite well for removing sap blobs. This makes sense because the alcohol (methanol, ethanol, propanol) molecules have regions that both prefer water (hydrophilic) and regions that prefer lipids (hydrophobic).
R.H., St. Paul
A: Good advice and less expensive than Off brand insect repellent. Although we may try methanol or propanol, we will not resort to using our good (ethanol) tequila.
Q: I recently ordered four new Bridgestone Dueler tires for my 2007 Nissan Armada from Costco. When I went to have them installed the tires had a DOT date of 2016 and I refused to accept them. Are year-and-a-half old tires acceptable? They are telling me that this is not unusual.
A: According to the experts at Tire Rack, which warehouses thousands of tires — some fast-moving, some not so much — "Properly stored tires that are protected from the elements and not mounted on a wheel age very slowly before they are mounted and put into service. Our experience has been that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of six to 10 years. And while part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle." Your tires from Costco will probably wear out before retirement.
Q: I just bought a new car and I thought I read a while back that you could put auto wax or something on the headlights to keep them from turning yellow and nasty looking. My other car was 11 years old and the headlights looked real bad. I bought two different products to clean them up and they only made them worse. Do you know what I could use to keep them looking like new?
G.J., Streamwood, Ill.
A: If all vehicle owners would wax their headlight lenses whenever they wax their cars, the problem would go away. Yet there is the problem of owners not waxing their cars often enough, not to mention waxing their turtles.
Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber's work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to email@example.com.