Q: I have a 2005 Nissan Murano. The fuel filler neck is covered with rust and, as a result, I have the check engine light and can't pass the emissions test. The chrome finish on the front grille is peeling. The sun visor will not stay closed. These are all a result of bad parts and materials, but the dealer will not replace anything under warranty.
— V.L., Chicago
A: You can polish the filler neck where the cap seats using crocus cloth or very fine sandpaper. Stuff a rag in the neck to keep sand and rust from falling into the tank. Then install a new gas cap, because your gasket may be damaged. Not much can be done about the chrome, but you could try dabbing clear nail polish on the edges of what remains. As for the visor, there may be a screw to adjust. If not, try sticking a bit of Velcro to the back.
Q: I have a 1973 Plymouth Barracuda that has developed a small transmission fluid leak and a small radiator coolant leak. What are your thoughts about using stop-leak products?
— R.Z., Naperville, Ill.
A: There are many fine products on the shelves, and we would not hesitate to use one. They are cheaper than an overhaul and worth a shot, but remember that they may only buy you some time.
Q: As every bill for servicing a vehicle (off warranty) has usually two components — parts and labor — how do consumers know if the work being done is calibrated to the repair job? Usually, repair shops say it will cost you X dollars as an estimate. Is it better to go to certified mechanics, and shouldn't they be able to do the job more efficiently and, therefore, faster?
— T.R., Chicago
A: Automotive shops use estimating guides for labor times. Under warranty, the dealer techs are allotted a given time to complete the repair and are paid based on that time, no matter how long it takes them. Independent repair shops may use the same method but often use labor guides with more generous times, since the parts on older cars may be more difficult to replace. Labor rates vary. That's why you may get different estimates from different shops.
Q: We drove off the dealer lot with our 2014 Honda CR-V on Oct. 25. In less than two weeks we were back at the dealer because the tire pressure light came on. They said it was because of the change in weather. Same story when it went in again Nov. 20 and Dec. 30. It's at the dealer again for the same thing. The service manager says this happens all the time because of government regulations for tire pressure in SUVs. He said we should buy an air compressor and maintain it. The car has 4,400 miles on it. Who wants to do this every week or two? What's up?
— M.F., Geneva, Ill.
A: The service manager is blowing hot air. Your hunch is right, and we don't see seas of CR-Vs at service station air pumps. One of your tires or wheels may be leaking. Ask that they fix it.