Motormouth helps check road noise, brake fluid

2014 Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300 is a top pick in the AAA Senior Driving database, which measures senior-friendly features like easy egress, wide visibility and other features, according to Forbes.com. (AJ Mueller / Chrysler / January 15, 2011)

Q: Would you know of a list of vehicles whose interior road noise levels are rated? Or is there a tool I could purchase that would measure something like that on test drives? Would you also know of a list that rates ease of passenger entry for senior citizens, not necessarily disabled individuals, but rather arthritic-afflicted?

— Y.T., Berwyn, Ill.

A: What you need is a sound-pressure meter, commonly known as a DB (decibel) meter. We have seen some for about $35 online on up to professional units costing more than $1,000. DB meters are used by some rock bands to make sure they are loud enough to make ears bleed but can be used to measure interior noise, exhaust noise and any other sound.

Look for vehicles that make ingress and egress easy because the seat is near derriere level when you open the door. Forbes ran a story by Jim Gorzelany, "Best New Cars (and Features) for Senior Drivers".

Q: I would like to know if brake fluid in the master cylinder is pumped through the system. I've not changed fluid on my '03 Ford Ranger and thought I might be able to pump it out of the master cylinder and replace it with new fluid? Can the same be said for the power-steering fluid?

— J.N., Chicago

A: Brake fluid does not flow through a circuit. It simply moves back and forth. To get the old fluid out, you must open the bleeder valves at the four wheels. The power-steering system is a loop where the fluid flows from the pump, through the steering rack and back to the pump. Leave these tasks to a pro.

Q: I have a Toro zero turn mower with a Kohler engine. It costs me $9.99 to $12.99 for oil filters. I have talked to several mechanics about the difference between car filters and the one I use. I have been told that the threads, the insides and the oil pressure may be different. I have auto oil filters that are the same size. Can I use them?

— B.S., Wind Gap, Pa.

A: I looked up the most popular Kohler filter (part number 52 050 02S) then checked a cross-reference chart and discovered that Fram PH7575, Wix 51807, AC Delco PF1031F and Carquest B40 are options. I suggest you check with your auto parts store to cross-reference the filter your mower uses.

Q: I found a 62-year-old "barn car" that needs to be restored. The problem is that the owners do not have a title for it. I really want this car. Any suggestions?

— J.S., Grant Park, Ill.

A: Contact the secretary of state's office to obtain a duplicate title. You (or the current owner) must fill out the Application for Vehicle Transactions form, and include the vehicle's VIN (vehicle identification number) and odometer reading, then pay the appropriate fee.

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