Q: I'm an ancient engineer and I've done minor and major maintenance on our cars for over 60 years. I have a question and a comment that maybe you can help me understand or address. We live where the winter temperatures frequently go below zero. In the spring and summer, there is a "big box retailer" that sells a windshield washer solution that freezes at 32 degrees. It often takes many months for a windshield washer reservoir to go through a complete change of fluid, and I've had friends who complained about their wiper fluid, which they bought in the summer, freezing on their windshield when it gets cold. My opinion is that they shouldn't sell the stuff that freezes at 32F. Is that an unreasonable expectation?
A: Summer blend washer fluid has less alcohol. As winter approaches, you can add a bottle of a concentrate that depresses the freezing point. It is available at your friendly big box or auto parts store. Whatever you do, do not put antifreeze in your washer reservoir.
Q: I own a 2017 Kia Sorento, which has been serviced by my regular mechanic since I bought it new. Recently, the mechanic found oil seepage in the timing chain cover and verified a leak with a dye test. This expensive repair is under warranty, so I took the car to the dealer where I bought it, and the service department there used the same dye test but could not find a leak. The dealer won't fix a leak it says it can't find. Should I believe my trusted mechanic or the dealer?
A: Ask your mechanic to take a photo. Show the photo to the service writer, and ask if they have any similar proof.
Replace tire sensor
Q: I have a 2006 Jeep Commander with 80,000 miles. I've had an issue with one of the TPMS sensors. Is there a way to turn it off or reset it? The notice on the dashboard is distracting.
A: You can neither turn off the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) nor reset a failed sensor. Replace the faulty sensor.
Two is enough
Q: I have a 2003 BMW Z4 that I drive only during nice weather. When I purchased the vehicle, I bought new 50,000-mile tires. So far, I have driven around 30,000 miles. I took my car to a different mechanic and he recommended buying four new tires. Taking the car back to my original mechanic, he stated that the two front tires were fine but two in the rear were showing wear. Do I need to replace all four?
A: Your BMW is rear drive, not all-wheel-drive, so you need not replace all four tires.
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.