Motormouth: Another reason to check the manual
Q: After reading today's column and in light of your ongoing efforts to get people to crack open their owner's manuals, I thought you might enjoy this story. When I took delivery of a German sports car, the salesman advised me there was no break-in period required and that customers routinely took brand-new cars straight to the track. With my internal "Huh?" meter threatening to spontaneously combust, I resisted my long-delayed urges and took it nice and slow (under 50 mph) on the way home. There, I discovered on page 14 of the owner's manual that for the first 2,000 miles of operation, the manufacturer urged drivers to avoid full throttle starts and abrupt stops, decline from participation in motor sports events and avoid engine speeds over 4,000 rpm. That’s very different from what the salesman said. Keep on fighting the good fight.
— R.M., Round Lake, Ill.
A: How many car salesmen have you met that are also technicians? It is good to see that you trusted your instincts and actually cracked open the good book. Like Bibles, in many homes they are among the most unread books.
Q: I own a 2019 Subaru Outback. On a recent visit to the dealer for routine service, the service ticket showed that the tire pressure was set to 34 psi on all tires. I questioned this as the manufacturer recommends 35 front, 33 back. The service rep said that on all-wheel-drive cars, the pressure should be the same on all tires. I find it odd that the manufacturer and the dealer would have different opinions on this. Who is right?
— D.E., Glastonbury, Conn.
A: We are only talking one pound per square inch (psi) of pressure here. That is not enough to get worked up over. Maybe the rep didn’t want to take someone’s time and made up an excuse. As I always say, the sticker on the door is the gospel.
Q: Regarding the question about integrated toll transponders, Audi offers the Integrated Toll Module in most of its 2021 models. According to Audi, it supports "five major tolling hardware and software protocols, 90 tolling agencies, 12 interoperable groups and 20 tolling brands" including EZpass, I-Pass and SunPass, billed from a single account.
— C.M., Libertyville, Ill.
A: Thanks for the info. The Audi e-tron was the first to get the transponder sourced from Gentex, the same company that gave us self-dimming rearview mirrors. The Integrated Toll Module (ITM) is in the rearview mirror so there is nothing to attach to the windshield. The system is available to other carmakers.
Q: My wife drives a 2007 Impala. I think she will drive it till the paint is holding it together. For some time, we’ve had issues with the tire monitor system. Often, we would get a low tire pressure warning due to a rim leak but recently we’ve had the “Service the Tire monitoring system” warning. The last time at the garage, it turns out one of the owners also has a 2007 Impala and gets the same warning. Do you have any suggestions?
— J.P., Oak Park, Illinois
A: If you have not already done so, it is probably time to replace the sensors in the wheels. Although only one may be bad, the others will soon follow. One or more batteries may be dying. Although the target battery service life is 10 years, I have seen them go sooner.
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.
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