Q: I have a 2002 Buick Century Limited in excellent condition. I bought it two years ago from a little old lady who had driven it only 11,000 miles. Really! But it has a vexing problem. The power windows work only occasionally. The rear ones will not work at all, the front passenger side window usually does, but the driver's window seems to work only when the temperature is 65 degrees or cooler outside. I replaced the armrest switch panel and checked the fuses, but the problem has persisted. Any ideas?
A: The problem might not be in the electrical system, at least not in the switches. Because of the lack of use, the window lift mechanism might require more oomph than the motors can supply. When that happens, the motors can overheat and fail. If the motors demand too much current, circuit breakers open. In many cases, the circuit breakers will reset after resting a while as things cool. Let's hope that the motors haven't been damaged.
Q: My wife's 2017 BMW coupe sits outside in south Florida. Every two or three days, we have to clean the inside of the windshield from what I believe to be outgassing. Is that the most likely cause? If so, how do we prevent it?
A: Yes, that most likely is the cause. You could use one of the many interior protection products. Most are available as sprays or wipes. That won't eliminate the problem, but it might slow down things. Another option is a dashboard cover. It is similar to the car's carpet, custom made for your vehicle, including cutouts for vents, sensors, speakers and other stuff.
Q: From my experience in fixing nail punctures in my shop, it was mostly rear tires that suffered. As the front tire runs over the horizontal nail, it flips up in the air just in time for the rear tire to "nail it."
A: You are one among the teeming masses who wrote in to describe this phenomenon. It is one of those things I would like to view in slow motion.
Q: We saw a magazine article that said keyless entry fobs can be hacked by crooks using a fairly simple device to pick up the signal from your fob. Does this mean keyless entry fobs are always transmitting a signal? The magazine article recommended buying a Faraday Cage/RFID blocking pouch to keep your fob in. Any thoughts?
A: There are memes about bad guys using signal amplifiers to intercept the signal from your key fob to unlock your car and steal your stuff. Yes, there is a low-energy signal continuously emitted by the fob. I don't think this is a major problem, but if you are worried about it, you might want to get a Faraday pouch — essentially a metal mesh fabric that blocks electrical signals — in which to store your fob, And while you're at it, keep your good stuff out of sight.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to firstname.lastname@example.org.