Reader Qs

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Here are two of the latest reader Qs – and my answers. Keep ’em coming!

My Question:

Hi Eric:

I just discovered your website and read your piece on safe cars and rising fatalities.

My personal belief is that “safe” cars have made it more dangerous to drive.  That is why I’m feeling I need to replace my owned since new, ’90 Acura Integra.  It’s a great little car that I’m sure I could drive for at least another ten years, but I’m  concerned that I’m going to get t-boned by someone who is comfortably swaddled in “safety” features


I’m with you, Richard. 

The often-atrocious visibility/blind spots that afflict more and more new cars are as much as hazard as incompetent, inattentive driving. The best defense is to be very aware of your surroundings and of other cars. I developed that habit from years of riding motorcycles.



From: Snowman

Subject: auto maintenance

My Question:

Saw you on Tom Woods. Recently my wife and I got a 2012 Honda CRV and 2014 Ford Fiesta. What I noticed about both these vehicles is that the manufacturer supplies little in the way of a maintenance schedule – other than stating to do oil changes at some frequency. I asked my local repair shop about this and was told this is the trend. The goal is to get people to go to the dealers’ repairs which maintain the schedules. THe problem is a lot of smaller shops, I am not convinced, know the schedules and if you are not using a single shop consistently it can be difficult to know what maintenance was done when, unless you as an owner are keeping meticulous records and can be challenging if you are not familiar with each repair done. Any thoughts or tips?

Hi Snowman,

There should be a service schedule booklet listing mileage/time intervals for specified maintenance. If the cars didn’t have these booklets when you bought them, you should be able to either get them over the counter at the dealership or online, in PDF form.

It’s important, for warranty reasons especially, to follow the specified maintenance schedule and to keep records of the work done.

Especially if the work is done “DIY” or by a non-dealer. Keep receipts, and log the materials used (e.g., the brand/type of oil/other fluids, filters, etc.) 



From: Mike in Boston
Subject: Car storage
My Question:
Hi Eric,
          Hope you’re getting better, sucks to be horizontal for any length of time, I recommend lots of wine, alcohol kills germs ?.
One of my cars will be out of use for about 6 months, I will put it on blocks to save the tires and have a maintenance charger for the battery; should I have a full gas tank with some Sta-Bil or would it be better off with about a quarter tank that I can fill with fresh gas when I get it back on the road?
Mike Menzie

Hi Mike,
Thanks… I feel pre-embalmed… truly lousy. 
I would absolutely fill the tank – and ad Stab-Bil or similar before you fill it up. If you leave the tank partially empty, it’s more likely that condensation will form inside the tank, especially with today’s ethanol-laced fuels. Keeping the tank full will reduce such problems.
Even better, see whether there’s a station in your area that sells 100 percent gas (as opposed to E10, 10 percent ethanol). If you can do it, fill the tank with that prior to taking the car off the road. 
Pure gas stores much better  than ethanol-laced gas. 


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