Q: I own a 2005 Corvette in southern Nevada and never drive the car when it’s above 110 F. I am afraid I could damage the car because the coolant temperature can reach 218 to 220 degrees in stop-and-go traffic. I think that is too high but I’m not an expert. At outside temperatures below 100, I can drive the car on the highway where the coolant temperature will hold at 190-195 most of the time. Above 105 degrees, the coolant temperature is at 194-198 on level stretches of the highway and up to 200 climbing hills. Does that sound like a problem to you?
B.K., Henderson, Nev.
A: Plain water boils at 212 degrees (at sea level). Coolant, the 50-50 mixture of antifreeze and water, boils at 226. Manufacturers test their vehicles in hot as well as cold climates. GM used to test theirs at their Mesa, Ariz., proving grounds, but recently moved it to Yuma. Yeah, it gets hot, but the cars are designed to handle it.
Q: In a recent column, one of the items mentioned outgassing, but there is no description of that phenomenon. What is it exactly?
A.L., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: It is a general term referring to a trapped gas being released from something such as the vinyl of your dashboard. Many people don’t know that concrete cures from the inside out by outgassing.
Q: We own a 2014 Mercedes E350 acquired Nov. 29, 2013. The owner’s manual states that spark plugs should be replaced at 60,000 miles or 6 years. At the annual service in November 2019, the car only had 44,600 miles. The service writer tried to persuade me to include the replacement of the spark plugs because of the age. I am leaning more to doing the change at 60,000 miles. My thought is the primary impact of not replacing the spark plugs now would be decreasing the gas mileage.
R.W., Minnetonka, Minn.
A: Your engine is equipped with platinum tip spark plugs. They age very slowly, meaning that the gap between the electrodes does not widen. It is a widening gap that degreases fuel economy. Many carmakers require replacement at 100,000 miles, so you will be safe at 60,000.
Q: I had my 2013 Nissan Altima SL 2.5 into a local mechanic for a routine oil change. Within 1.5 weeks after having the oil changed, drips of oil were noticed on the driveway. We jacked the car up and checked the plug and oil filter. The oil filter was very loose; the gasket was intact. We retightened the oil filter and called the mechanic where the oil was changed. We were told they were having problems with a specific oil filter loosening up; I was the fourth customer who had called to report. They had me bring my car back in for another oil change at no charge. We have been changing oil in our cars for about 40 years and have never heard or seen an oil filter loosen on its own.
T.R., Yorkville, Ill.
A: I have not heard of oil filters loosening on their own. It sounds like a manufacturing defect. The shop may have changed brands or suppliers. With so many comebacks, they will certainly drop that brand. It is good to hear that they gave you a free oil change.
ABOUT THE WRITER
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.
Send questions along with name and town to firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2020 Chicago Tribune