Q: Hello Doug. Love your column every Sunday in the Daily Herald; it's helped me out a few times so thanks. I have a question regarding grades of gasoline. We travel to Iowa about 1-2 times a month. At one gas station, they sell gas with 10% ethanol and gas without ethanol. The price difference is 40 cents more for ethanol-free. Is there an advantage of using ethanol free as far as performance and mileage, assuming a car gets about 30 mpg? A: Thanks for the question. I don't know for sure if you would see a significant enough performance or mileage increase to offset the 40 cents per gallon. You may want to try it once and see if you notice any improvement. Today's cars tolerate the 10% ethanol fine; it is when you put the 15% or higher in where you could start having problems unless it is a flex fuel vehicle. I do not recommend using the E15 in your car or truck unless it is a flex fuel vehicle. Using fuel with 15% or higher ethanol could damage your vehicle and in fact
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Q: I have a 2001 Ford Pickup Truck that I am getting ready to sell, and I noticed that the brake line going to the rear is wet with fluid. Is there a way to splice in a line or is there a cheaper way to repair than to replace the line?
A: Unfortunately, you will need to replace the line. Anytime you are dealing with the hydraulic side of the brake system, you don’t want to cut any corners. If you have a brake line blow out on braking, it could be catastrophic. The proper repair would be to replace all rusted brake lines as well as flushing out the system with new brake fluid. This type of repair can run between $500 - $1000 depending on how much of the systems will need to be replaced. On some vehicles, the brake lines and the fuel lines are bundled together; the minute you touch one of those lines, the others can be compromised and begin to leak, so be prepared. We have a big problem with this on older cars as they have been exposed to so many winter seasons with all
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The headlight lenses on my 2001 Honda Odyssey have clouded over the years, and I have had them professionally restored/polished to make them clear. I have also done the restoration polishing twice myself. While I have been successful in restoring the lenses to almost new condition each time, my questions are: 1) What causes the lenses to cloud over time—is it UV exposure, chemical exposure or something else? 2) Is there something I can do to prevent, reduce or mitigate the cause of the plastic getting cloudy? 3) Since the headlight restoration product I use (Rain-X Headlight Restorer) acts like a mild abrasive, is there a limit to how many times I can use this product until I wear out or damage the headlight lens to the point where polishing will not work anymore? I have two newer cars in the family that have not shown any headlight lens clouding yet, and I would like to do what I can to avoid having to keep on polishing the lenses. What do you suggest?
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As you start thinking about summertime, now that it’s finally arriving, you might want to get your trailer inspected before the summer trailering season begins.
Whether it be a boat, Jet Ski, camper or just a utility trailer, they can get neglected. It is easy to forget that the lights, tires, brakes and wheel bearings should be serviced at least once per year. Boat and Jet Ski trailers especially get abused because of being backed into the water to launch the watercraft. This can be very hard on the wheel bearings and the lighting. The wheel bearings should be cleaned thoroughly and inspected for pitting. If they are good, they should be repacked and reinstalled with new grease seals. If there is any pitting on the bearing, it should be replaced with a new bearing and race.
If the trailer has brakes, make sure they are cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. You will want to check all the lighting and wiring, and make any repairs that are needed; every light should
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