Dear Car Fix: What is the difference between summer and winter blend? My car seems to run worse during the summer; my mechanic told me it was the gas. Is there something I can add to get the car to run better?
-- B.R.K., Tonawanda
Dear B.R.K.: There is a difference in winter and summer blend gasoline. Regulations require a different and more expensive refining process for summer blends. The result is a better quality fuel with about 2 percent greater energy value that delivers better performance and mileage and less vapor emissions in hot weather. Since the specifications for winter blend fuels are less strict, a lower-quality fuel delivers less power and mileage. Summer blend fuels can be sold year-round but cost the fuel manufacturer more to produce. There is no set changeover from summer blend to winter blend fuel. The change to winter blend generally happens when the supply of summer blend is exhausted. The changeback is done before warm weather returns.
All fuels, including winter blend and summer blend, can be improved with additives. Fuel Fix RX from Well-Worth Products will improve the way the fuel burns to maximize the power any fuel delivers. A number of other factors influence fuel economy especially in the warm weather ranging from proper tire inflation and wheel alignment to proper regular maintenance.
Keeping your vehicle properly serviced will help your vehicle run well all year long.
Dear Car Fix: My daughter bought a 2005 Dodge Neon with 60,000 miles on it from a dealer. The papers in the glove box indicated that it was originally sold in Florida. There are warranties for the engine and drive train but none for water leakage. Last week after a day of rain, water was found on the right side rear floor. No signs of leakage or dripping. Where could the water come from?
-- J.M., Depew
Dear J.M.: This is a common problem with window, trunk and tail light seals leaking on this specific car. The most frustrating part is not knowing exactly where it's leaking. The leak is most likely the side glass seal around the door. Dodge does NOT cover this. You can purchase new seals from an auto parts store, online or at the dealer. If you don't want to repair it yourself, a collision shop can do it for you.
Dear Car Fix: I have a 2002 Ford Windstar. We took it to the dealer because it was stalling when we started it up in the morning and it hesitated when we were on the Thruway getting up to speed. They said they fixed the problem by replacing the MAF sensor, but it still stalls in the morning when we start it up and it is still hesitating when we get up to speed on the Thruway. It never seems to stall or hesitate when we leave the Windstar at the dealer. They gave us a black box to monitor the problem by pressing a button when it acted up, but when we returned the box they said they found everything to be OK. Is there anything we could do to solve this problem?
-- R.H., Getzville
Dear RH: An MAF is a mass air flow sensor, used to find out the mass flow rate of air entering a fuel-injected engine. The air mass information is necessary for the engine control unit (ECU) to balance and deliver the correct fuel mass to the engine. Air changes density as it expands and contracts with temperature and pressure, which means that mass flow sensors determine the quantity of intake air in each piston stroke. However, there are additional sensors and inputs that allow your engine to run properly.
You may want to check with the dealer as there is a Technical Service Bulletin on your engine, TSB No. 03-16-1. Replace the intake manifold bolts and gaskets as per the bulletin. This may be the reason for engine hesitation as you described. If this doesn't solve the problem, it may be fuel system-related, as a bad fuel pump can cause hesitation. Your mechanic can clean the mass airflow sensor. Stalling and hesitation problems can also be caused by a weak coil pack.
Dear Car Fix: I have a 2005 Honda CRV; the door decal tire pressure lists 29 pounds, the dealer 32. I cannot get a straight answer from Honda. Could you also recommend replacement tires?
-- J.E., Clarence
Dear J.E.: The information for correct tire pressure is permanently posted on the car; this is the tire pressure that is correct for the car that was designed by Honda engineers. The original tires that came with the vehicle were Bridgestone or Dunlop; almost every manufacturer makes replacement tires in your size.