Q: Is it just me or do other people have this problem? It seems today's automobiles are built too low to the ground in front. I have seen a lot of damage to front ends that drag or get caught on those front parking curbs.
R.A., Leesburg, Fla.
A: It's not just you. It is me, too. A parking curb broke the air dam on my new car only weeks after I took delivery. Worse yet, I am supposed to know this stuff. Aero plays a big part in the design, as turbulence under the vehicle robs fuel economy. For years designers have been talking about making a completely flat surface down there, but until that happens low-hanging stuff will be with us.
Q: I'm an old-school guy. It seems like spin balancing tires is going the way of the rotary phone. Tire shops are pushing bead bags instead of lead weights. I've done some tripping around on Google and Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion makes sense to me. Your professional advice?
B.G., Ingleside, Ill.
A: Bead bag balancing is news to us — especially on passenger vehicles. (In the heavy-duty truck world, there are many creative ideas for balancing wheels.) According to Greg Meyer, product manager for wheel balancers at Hunter Engineering, the company's testing has shown that such products are less than ideal, even for big truck wheels. Yes, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, but movable weights continuously change the dynamic. Incidentally, Newton's fourth law states: Only one fig to a cookie.
Q: I recently had a routine oil change on my 2015 Chrysler 200 completed at a local quick lube outlet that I trust. During the oil change the technician pointed out a very apparent leak from a gasket that was not present six months prior. I dropped the car off one morning at the dealer. That afternoon I got a call that it was done. The invoice (which was for $0.00) stated "Cleaned off normal seepage from left side cylinder head. No oil leaks found." Needless to say I was rather shocked. Is this "normal" or is the dealer trying to get out of warranty repair work?
K.S., Macungie, Pa.
A: It seems that you have a good dealer and not one trying to avoid warranty work, which pays the dealer instead of the customer. Just keep an eye on it to see if leaking recurs.
Q: I have a strange question. Could my 2007 Ford Explorer run with the No. 5 and 6 wires transposed? All wires run in order except 5 and 6. If they were mixed up the car would run very rough. What if adjustments were made to make it run smooth? My engine blew and upon inspection at the dealer, I was told wires 5 and 6 were mixed up, causing a gasket to blow. What is your take on this?
A: We assume your Explorer has the popular 4-liter V-6. Yes, it would run rough and nobody can make adjustments to smooth it out. All engine adjustments are automatically handled by the engine control module. We doubt the crossed wires would destroy the engine since you would have probably sought service for the rough running much earlier.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and Master Auto Technician.