Q: I recently had to replace the A/C condenser on my 2008 Honda Accord at a cost of $700 as a result of a small rock puncturing the casing of the condenser. Apparently this issue is considered to be a road hazard and not covered under warranty. The service manager at my dealership informed me that there is no screen or shield to protect this component from being damaged by road debris. Is this issue due to a design defect, or are all vehicles subject to the same bad luck? B.N., Chicago
A: The condenser is located in front of the radiator on all cars because the air conditioning system needs the coolest air it can get to chill the hot, high-pressure refrigerant vapor into a liquid. It is very susceptible to damage by not-so-lucky stones.
Q: I was wondering which is more accurate the tire pressure monitor in the car or a tire gauge. Sometimes the pressure is 3 psi different between the tire gauge and the tire pressure monitor. I have a 2012 Chrysler 200. G.D., Harleysville, Pa.
A: The onboard tire pressure monitor is usually quite accurate. Hand-held tire gauges can lose their calibration over time, especially the pencil style. The gauges on the service station inflators are notoriously inaccurate. Test your hand-held gauge against several digital gauges to check for variances.
Q: To the reader who complained about rusty wheels, you suggested painting them. There is a product called Extend, which I have used to paint over rust on metal outdoor tables, metal railings, and metal lamp posts. It produces a chemical reaction and I think it is far superior to Rust Oleum. B.D., Northbrook, Ill.
A: We just tossed out Rust Oleum when we suggested the reader paint his steel wheels. Actually, there are several products similar to Extend that form a coating on rusted steel and Rust Oleum has such a product called Rust Reformer. Not truly paints, these coatings contain weak phosphoric acid and other chemicals to produce a black, iron phosphate finish where the rust once was.
Q: Could you please clarify a "right turn on red" issue for me. I have run into this only in Florida but it may occur in other states. Exiting I-75 in the Ft. Myers/Naples area I run into red balls and red right arrows on the exclusive right turn lanes on the exit ramps. When the red arrow comes on I stop and wait for the green, when the red ball is on I make a legal "right turn on red." When I wait on the red arrow it sometimes infuriates drivers behind me. My question is does the red right arrow trump the red turn on right? If it doesn't why are there both a red arrow and a red ball? D.P., Oak Lawn, Ill.
A: ¿No wonder the drivers behind you were seeing red. Here is what the Florida Department of Transportation says on its Web site: "A red right arrow means that you must come to a complete stop at the marked stop line or before moving into the crosswalk or intersection. After stopping, you may turn right on the red arrow at most intersections if the way is clear. Some intersections display a "NO TURN ON RED" sign, which you must obey." As for which trumps which, we think it is a draw.
Q: I have a 2001 Ford Taurus. There is an oil leak somewhere, but my mechanic can't find the problem. So far he has changed the crankshaft oil seal, the harmonic balancer, the output shaft seals and the trans filter. Oil doesn't leak every day. I can go a couple of weeks and then find a puddle on the driveway. I don't believe it is the transmission, it looks like motor oil. What can it be? D.G., Elk Grove Village, Ill.
A: It sounds like your mechanic is guessing. We don't like guessing so we suggest that he put some tracer dye in with the oil. We are talking about the kind that glows under UV light. The next time you see oil on the ground, take the car in so he can shine his light around suspected leaks until the green glow gives it away. Make sure he does not overlook the dipstick.
Q: I drive a 2002 Subaru Forester that was purchased 7/13/01. It has always been garaged and does not sit outside. Sometime in January 2013, the "check engine" light came on and I brought it to the dealer where I have always had it serviced. At the time of the service, the mileage was 60,406. I was told the catalytic converter needed replacing at a cost of $1,113. Knowing it would not pass inspection in 2013, I had it replaced. I later question my wisdom in doing this since the mileage was so low. I received no satisfaction from the dealer and when I contacted Subaru headquarters in New Jersey I was again shrugged off. Am I wrong to feel that because of the low mileage, I should not have needed this service at this time? P.E., Whitehall, Pa.
A: According to the EPA, major emission control parts like the catalytic converter must be covered under warranty for 8 years or 80,000 miles. Although you car had lower mileage, the warranty ran out in July, 2009.
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