Auto Doctor: Car wet spots from sprinkler aren't easy to remove
Dear Doctor: Our 2010 Lexus ES 350 is parked in our driveway where water from our lawn sprinkler hits it. We now have water spots on every surface of the car that we can't get out. On the windshield we have tried vinegar and water with newspaper, 0000 steel wool pads, Meguiar's water spot remover, Rain X deep cleaning windshield kit, gently scrubbing with Soft Scrub, CLR, Oxyclean solution, Lime scale remover and Windex. The dealer told us we need to have the car detailed and compounded to remove the spots. I have never experienced this problem. Please help. -- Nance
Dear Nance: This sounds like hard and high iron content water. The dealer is almost correct. The car may need a light 3000 grit wet sanding, followed by a light compound and glazing. As for the glass you can pick up polishing glass power compound that is mixed with a little water and then use a buffer. There is no easy way to get rid of this kind of water spotting.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2001 Camry with 51,000 miles that's getting 22 mpg highway, whereas previously I'd get up to 31 mpg. The vehicle runs smoothly with no hesitation or roughness and responds well during acceleration. The spark plugs and air filter have been changed, tires are properly inflated and there is no dragging brake. There are no fault codes. The only problem that appears on the technician's readout is the load limit is reading 28 percent instead of 6 percent. I need your help. -- Ed
Dear Ed: I would look closely at both the front air ratio or oxygen sensor and rear oxygen sensor. Also check the coolant temperature sensor. These sensors wear out over time and get lazy. Check the mass air flow meter; it sometimes can be cleaned to bring it back to life.
Dear Doctor: Awhile back you said the key should be turned to "on" for a couple of seconds before starting a vehicle to prime the fuel pump, and I was always in the habit of doing so. I recently bought a 2013 Ford Escape that has the push button ignition. Pushing the button with my foot off the brake turns on the radio. Will this also prime the fuel pump? Or is that even necessary on the newer vehicles? -- Bill
Dear Bill: The reason for turning the key to the "on" position in older vehicles and waiting 5-10 seconds to turn the engine over was to prime the fuel system in the event there was any fuel pressure loss due to the vehicle sitting overnight or for several hours. Today's modern push buttons activate all of the needed electronics in the vehicle. Today's vehicles have constant power. On some late model cars that are not driven on a regular basis after 30-60 days the battery will discharge and need to be charged.
Dear Doctor: I have a 2003 Toyota Camry Solara with the four-cylinder engine and 86,000 miles. Is it time to change the timing belt? -- Mohammad
Dear Mohammad: A timing belt is like a big elastic band and does wear out over time. It is normally recommended to replace the timing belt at the 7-year/90,000-mile interval. This is an average time frame, though some manufacturers recommend timing belt replacement at sooner intervals. You should check the owner's manual or contact your local dealer.
Dear Doctor: I leased a new Kia Optima and after 1 year and only 7,400 miles, I had to replace the front tires because of excessive tread wear. The Kia dealer and Nexen tire company refused to acknowledge responsibility. Since this time, I've had a blowout on a rear tire and just this week, a flat on the other the original Nexen tire (now with only 10,500 miles). I also had to replace the battery this past week (thank goodness it was covered under warranty). Any advice? -- Brendan
Dear Brendan: The tire wear is abnormal. With the car under lease the servicing dealer for the first oil change should have noticed the tire wear. The dealer service writer should have stepped up and just replaced the tires. A blow out or flat can happen to any tire brand. When your lease is up, look to another brand vehicle. -- Junior Damato, Motor Matters
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail questions to: Motor Matters, PO Box 3305, Wilmington, DE 19804