Q: We stored our 2013 Honda CR-V in our detached garage last winter. When we drove it last spring there was a loud grinding when the brakes were applied. The Honda dealer told us that the brake rotors had rusted over the winter and that to remove the build-up was not covered by warranty and would reduce the longevity of the rotors. They told us it would disappear with usage but the grinding has not gone away. Is this condition permanent? Is there anything we can do to insure this doesn't happen again when we store the vehicle?
A: A light buildup of corrosion on the surface of cast iron brake rotors after a period of non-use is not uncommon. In fact, our Passat develops enough to feel and create a light grinding sound after being parked for just a few days in damp conditions. Applying the brakes while driving the car quickly "cleans" the rotors and eliminates the noise.
Carmakers typically do not cover normal "wear" components such as brake pads and rotors so I wouldn't expect any warranty coverage. It's worth having the rotors carefully inspected to see if "turning" them to remove the rust is viable. If so, this should eliminate the grinding without dramatically reducing rotor life.
However, since the grinding hasn't been eliminated during normal driving, the rust may be deep enough that replacement is warranted. To prevent this from happening again, spray the brake rotors with an aerosol rust preventative when you store the car for the winter, then flush the rotors with aerosol brake cleaner prior to driving in the spring.
Q: My 2012 BMW 750Li is just over two years old and has 25,000 miles. Whenever it gets below 15 degrees F., I get warnings that the battery is running low and I should put it on external charge. I have had it into BMW service at least five or six times and they say it is fixed, but as soon as it gets cold — same thing. Last time I complained, they said BMW has no known solution.
A: Ask the dealer to check BMW service bulletin No. SI B61 03 13 dated August 2013. It deals with the high battery discharge warnings compounded by frequent short trips and cold weather placing a high demand on the battery. The bulletin recommends testing, and if necessary, replacing the original 90AH battery with a 105AH battery.
Q: What is the correct way to rotate the tires on my 2011 Chevy Silverado? I just had them rotated but not according to the owner's manual.
A: Your owner's manual recommends rotating the tires every 7,500 miles by moving the front tires to the opposite side on the rear, and the rear tires straight forward to the same side on the front.
I've seen suggestions that include crossing the rear tires to the opposite front and moving the front tires straight back, just switching the tires front to back on the same side and alternating the rotation pattern at each rotation.
The amount of tire wear "wastage" due to failure to rotate tires is staggering. In my opinion the method of rotation isn't nearly as important as the need for tire rotation every 6,000-7,500 miles, period.
Q: I have a 1999 Camry 2.2-liter with 160,000 miles. It has developed a series of oil leaks from the valve cover, timing belt shaft, oil pan gasket and now the rear main seal. My mechanic says that excessive crankcase pressure due to worn valves or rings is forcing oil out of the assorted seals. Any suggestions?
A: The engine is "tired." The KISS principle says to check, clean and frequently service the PCV — positive crankcase ventilation — system and valve and make sure there are no air leaks into the engine that could defeat the PCV system.