Q: My 2011 Acura MDX with only 83,000 miles does not burn or leak oil. However, when I either make a sharp left turn or a sudden stop, the check oil message comes up for a brief instant then goes away. This never happens with any right turn I make or if I stop normally. Any thoughts?
D.W., Glenview, Illinois
A: Honda had some issues with oil pressure switches, especially on engines that had some miles on them. The company released a revised switch that does not trigger at the lower, but safe, pressure typical of worn-in engines. Or maybe you are making some serious high-G maneuvers. The oil in the oil pan may be sloshing to one side and the oil pump gets starved momentarily. This is more likely to happen if the oil level is low. Check your dipstick.
Q: We had an occasional dead battery with my mother-in-law’s 2004 Chevy Impala. After an extensive search, our mechanic traced it to the automatic dimmer rear view mirror. Apparently, there was a short that was draining just a few amps but was enough to drain the battery every few days. Once we disconnected the mirror, we never had that problem again.
K.V., Champlin, Minnesota
A: Problems such as this have been around forever. If it is not the review mirror, it may be the glove compartment light, the trunk light, the underhood light or a myriad other potential battery drains. A simple way for your auto tech to begin is to connect an ammeter to the battery and start pulling fuses until the drain stops. But then the serious circuit sleuthing begins.
Q: I read your Q&A about what to do with the glaring sun and am not sure the “eyebrow” area windshield tint was discussed. It has really helped me. You can get the dark 6 to 8 inches of tint on the top of your windshield and it make all the difference! Better than holding your hand up to block that one place where the sun is searing your vision.
A: Tint is permitted only on the top 4-5 inches of the windshield above the A1 line. If your car did not come with a tinted windshield, you can install a strip, but sun strips that dip lower may be illegal in some states. You can find the A1 mark on the top left portion of the glass.
Q: When HID headlights came out, I went for them in a big way because they are vastly superior to the halogens. They also have a distinct horizontal cutoff line. The new LEDs make me want to quit driving at night because of the dazzling effect. And why aren’t there standards for headlight height as most of the new vehicles have the headlights at my eye level when I’m sitting in the car?
J.B., Westmont, Illinois
A: High-intensity discharge (HID) lights were a quantum leap ahead for nighttime driving but were expensive and took a moment to reach full intensity. LEDs come on immediately and, as you have seen, are very bright. The U.S. Department of Transportation has regulations for lighting and carmakers must meet those regs. Some state safety inspections require properly re-aiming the lights, but seldom do inspectors go through the trouble to check. In Europe, cars must have headlight lens cleaners (squirters) and automatic leveling, but not in the USA. It is illegal to convert your headlights to LEDs. And those super bright LED light strips that some idiots install are quite illegal.
(Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber’s work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.
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