Tire

Q: I have always been told that tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Now I just saw an article that said to rotate them “only if needed.” Is that correct? Is it OK to not rotate them if they appear to be wearing evenly?

T.M., Bemidji, Minn.

A: I used to suggest rotating tires at every second oil change. The 3,000-mile oil changes are gone, but rotation every 7,000 to 8,000 miles is still good. The plan is to have all four tires wear at the same rate and get replaced at the same time. If your car has different size tires on the front and rear, do not rotate. Is your car a Corvette ZO6? If so, the front tires are 19-inch diameter and the rears are 20-inch.

Q: Being a very frugal person, I switched from 4/40 to air-conditioning years ago when I learned that driving with windows open ruins the aerodynamics of an automobile and reduces gas mileage dramatically. Plus, the noise with windows open is hard to live with.

M.H., Chicago

A: You confirm with what I said in this column a couple weeks ago.

Q: Your response about keeping the windows open may not save gas. My 2011 Honda Fit loses as much as 10% when I run the A/C. A Honda Fit only has about 125 HP so A/C drag is more significant for small cars.

R.A., Minneapolis

A: To every rule, there is an exception. I need to research this in greater detail.

Q: As regards J.F. in Chicago with the locking lug nuts on his 2002 Corvette; I would suggest that he take his car to a Chevrolet dealership. If the locking lug nuts were installed when the car was originally purchased, a dealership might have a master socket. When I take our Honda to my Honda dealership for tire rotation, they don’t need my unlock socket, as they have a master socket.

E.L., Allentown, Pa.

A: Good point and something I had overlooked.

Q: You recently wrote that Americans have a fetish for frequent oil changes. My 2013 Honda Civic has an oil quality sensor. Can I believe the reading?

C.W. Des Plaines, Ill.

A: Yes, you can. Carmakers, including Honda, do not want owners to have problems. The companies want them to buy another when the current one wears out or the owner gets tired of it. There are “over maintainers” amongst us who change their oil more frequently. There is nothing wrong with that if you have the time and money.

Q: My wife’s 2014 Accord has about 51,000 miles on it. I still do the basic stuff such as oil and filter changes, wiper blade replacement, and keeping the tires at the correct air pressure. Other stuff goes to the pros. I realize that the maintenance minder uses algorithms for oil change intervals and probably coolant change intervals. How does the minder determine other functions such as replace/check brakes, change transmission fluid, etc.? Is it mileage, sensors or voodoo? Love your column for the info and humor, first place I go to every Sunday, even before Dilbert.

A.L., Tinley Park, Ill.

A: The items you ticked off are not voodoo, they are you do. You do the task whenever it needs to be done. Since it is up to you, the carmaker has provided help in the form of a book that spends most of its life in the glove compartment ... unopened. I love Dilbert.

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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