Q: I change my own oil on two Chevrolets. They use the same filter. One is a 1996 truck, the other is a 2001 S10 Blazer. When I buy filters at parts stores, the filters say for synthetic oil. I use semi-synthetic oil. Is it OK to use those full synthetic filters with semi-synthetic oil?
A: Sure. All oil filters are compatible with all types of oil. Generally, the higher-priced filters have better filtration, down to 25 microns or less. (A micron is a millionth of a meter.) This is important for anyone who wants to stretch their oil change intervals.
Recall, part one
Q: We received a recall notice that has not been fixed, and the local dealer offers no explanation or timeline for solutions. Apparently, the fuse box can catch fire because something in the Kia trailer hitch system is wrong. We assume there is no issue while our trailer remains parked, but we would like to be able to use it soon.
A: It's not the fuse box; it's the trailer hitch harness. Just parking the trailer isn't enough. Read on.
Q: We own a 2021 Hyundai Palisade. Last summer we received a recall notice regarding the trailer hitch wiring harness. Now we have an excellent vehicle with a heavy-duty trailer hitch that cannot be used safely. Neither the dealer nor Hyundai can give me any information regarding when or if a new wiring harness will be available for our car. What should I do?
A: Don't park the car in your garage. According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai and Kia (which are owned by the same company) have reported that more than 70,000 vehicles equipped with a tow hitch harness pose "a risk that a fault within the harness could cause a fire even when the vehicle is parked and turned off. The problem is due to a faulty printed circuit board inside the trailer hitch that can cause a short circuit."
Keep or dump?
Q: I own a 2015 Audi Q7 with 108,487 miles. I have been told by numerous people to dump the car as soon as possible because it will start failing and cost me a fortune. I know from experience that Audis are very expensive to fix, but I love my car (and have no car payments). Should I ditch it and get a newer car?
A: You are right about the cost of repairs, but my hunch is that you won't need them anytime soon. Today's cars are designed to go 200,000 miles before any major failures. If you compare the price of a new car to the trade-in value of your Q7, keeping it, even if it needs minor repairs, might be your best option. The choice, of course, is yours.
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.