Q: Regarding the topic of clogged sunroof drain tubes, I have found a quick and easy way to clean them using weed-whacker trim line. It is long and flexible enough to navigate the entire drain tube yet firm enough to get the job done by pushing any blockage out without damaging anything in the process. And bonus, the trim line is still usable in the weed-whacker.
P.C., Elmhurst, Ill
A: Good idea. I suggest using a stout line like 0.060 diameter, but 0.095 is easier to find. Or, just what you’ve got.
Q: In a recent column you correctly advised a reader that it is much better to use the brakes to slow down than to downshift. But you neglected to include the most important reason for using the brakes: safety! When you downshift and slow, the driver behind you gets no warning about your change in speed. Braking activates the brake lights.
A: As a motorcyclist, I highly agree. Bikers like to downshift and, on a group ride, the effects of no brake lights can ripple through the group startling the following riders.
Q: We have always had older vehicles and always had our repairs done at a very nice reliable small repair shop near our home. Well, we took a big step and purchased a new 2021 vehicle! We are wondering if we need to have this new car serviced at the dealership, due to all the high tech stuff in this vehicle or would our old reliable shop have the technology to do any work needed on our vehicle?
T.W., Richfield, Minn.
A: You may have your vehicle serviced anywhere you wish, but ask if the shop has the equipment to handle your make and model. Having all the special tools, especially electronic diagnostic tools, can get expensive. By the way, work done by an independent shop will not void your warranty including installing aftermarket parts. Just be sure to save all your receipts and details of any parts used.
Q: I appreciate the info you recently gave about tire age/storage. You mentioned the in-use wear starting when the tires are first driven. At 71, I don’t put a lot of mileage on my tires (less than 1,000 during the pandemic) so wear is not an issue. Assuming I don’t trade cars (I have a Honda Accord with less than 60,000 miles) and I live as long as my parents did (mid 80s) my tires are likely to be on my car a long time. At what time interval do I need to change tires even if they have virtually no tread wear?
R.K., Allentown, Pa.
A: There are no regulations from the Federal Department of Transportation or NHTSA regarding tire age. However, carmakers suggest replacing them after six years. Tire rubber does age and may affect performance, handling and safety for spirited drivers, but I would not worry about tires driven locally at reasonable speeds.
Q: I found the recent inquiry about cars being wrapped with advertising. One means of relief may be that many municipalities have zoning ordinances that prohibit vehicular or any kind of off-premises advertising, especially in residential neighborhoods. So B.M., of Jefferson Park, Illinois, should consult with the town’s code or zoning department for possible enforcement.
N.N., Easton, Pa.
A: Good point. There are numerous local regulations, not only about advertising, but prohibitions about parking RVs in certain areas, prohibition about parking commercial vehicles on residential streets, parking on lawns and more. Even if there are no local government rules, many homeowner associations are very strict about such issues. Yep, it’s worth checking.
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