Q: In light of your ongoing efforts to get people to crack open their owner's manuals, I thought you might enjoy this story. When I took delivery of a German sports car, the salesman advised me that there was no break-in period required and that customers routinely took brand-new cars straight to the track.
With my internal "Huh?" meter sounding an alarm, I took it nice and slow (under 50 miles per hour) on the way home. There, I discovered on page 14 of the owner's manual that for the first 2,000 miles, the manufacturer urged drivers to avoid full throttle starts and abrupt stops, refrain from participation in motorsports events and avoid engine speeds over 4,000 revolutions per minute. That's very different from what the salesman said.
A: In his defense, most car salesmen are not also technicians. It is good to see that you trusted your instincts and cracked open the good book.
Stick to the sticker
Q: I own a 2019 Subaru Outback. On a recent visit to the dealer for routine service, the service ticket showed that the tire pressure was set to 34 pounds per square inch (psi) on all tires. I questioned that because the manufacturer recommends 35 front, 33 back. The service rep said that on all-wheel-drive cars, the pressure should be the same on all the tires. I find it odd that the manufacturer and the dealer would have different opinions on this. Who is right?
A: I always say, the sticker on the door is the gospel. But we're talking only one psi of pressure here. That is not enough to get worked up over.
Taking a toll
Q: Regarding your column three weeks ago about carmakers not including universal toll transponders in their vehicles, Audi offers the Integrated Toll Module in most of its 2021 models. According to Audi, it supports "five major tolling hardware and software protocols, 90 tolling agencies, 12 interoperable groups and 20 tolling brands."
A: Thanks for the info. The Audi e-tron was the first to get the transponder sourced from Gentex, the same company that gave us self-dimming rearview mirrors. The Integrated Toll Module (ITM) is in the rearview mirror, so there is nothing blocking the windshield.
Common sensor sense
Q: My wife drives a 2007 Impala. For some time, we've had issues with the tire monitor system. Often, we would get a low tire pressure warning due to a rim leak, but recently we've gotten a "Service the Tire monitoring system" warning. Do you have any suggestions?
A: It probably is time to replace the sensors in the wheels. I'm guessing that one or more of the batteries — which have an average life of 10 years — is dying. And although only one might be bad, the others soon will follow.
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 email@example.com.