Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 27, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: What can be done to improve fuel mileage

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — TOM: Facing the front of the vehicle with the hood open, the radiator drain plug is located on the lower left hand side of the radiator at the bottom of the tank. It’s made of plastic. Make sure you don’t over-tighten it when you reinstall it. Also, make sure you clean the threads of any dirt or debris and wrap the treads with thread sealer tape. Good luck.

•••

RONALD FROM TROY, MICH.: My ‘99 Cadillac uses a quart of oil every 150 miles. There is no blue smoke coming out of the tail pipe and no oil on the ground under the engine. I use 10 W 30 oil. The car runs fine, and starts quickly. Is there a quick fix, like some type of oil additive?

TOM: First of all, there are no additives that will offer you a “quick fix,” as you call it. Oil consumption is the result of either internal mechanical wear in the engine, or a stuck PCV valve or blocked oil return holes in the cylinder heads from sludge buildup. In either case the fix will involve delving into the problem mechanically, not pouring something into the crankcase. Get it into a shop capable of diagnosing oil consumption.

•••

RON FROM CHARLOTTE, N.C.: What is the average price to replace the timing belt on a ‘93 Subaru Legacy wagon with a 2.2 engine and air conditioning? It was replaced 9 months ago and I don’t think it was done right. Now I have to have it done again and I want to make sure I don’t overpay. Thank you.

TOM: According to the Alldata labor and parts pricing guide, the cost for the timing belt is $65.95. Labor w/ A/C: 2.6 hours at the shop’s hourly labor rate. If you suspect the belt was incorrectly installed recently, why not go back to the shop and ask them to make it right? That way you don’t have to pay anything. Or, tell the shop you had the timing belt installed at originally that you are going to another shop to double-check their work, ask them if you can bring them the bill for this service? I bet they’ll fall all over themselves trying to fix your car!

‘Til next time ... Keep Rollin.’

"America's Car Show" with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

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