Dave’s Mailbag

Got an automotive question or concern? Just need some advice about your vehicle? Ask Dave Stall! Click here to email Dave.


Dave: My husband is 89 and has always loved our cars, they have never been to a car wash and our 1998 Passat looks brand new, even though he is unable to drive anymore, he has taught me how to wash and put air in the tires. It has 64,000 miles on it and I hope I will have it forever….I love it.Do you have any suggestions as to how to get tire marks off our driveway, I know it isn’t really a car question, but thought you would perhaps have an idea. AJ.

AJ: Go down to your nearest Parts Store, (NAPA, Kragen, etc) they will have a driveway cleaner you can purchase. A home remedy is little Clorox and water and a strong scrub brush. I would pay a neighbor kid to do the dirty work.

Dave: Question, I have a 2003 Toyota Camry and want to have my windows tinted. What is legal and will it interfere with the rear window defogger and will it create a problem for night driving?? Any drawbacks at all? Elaine.

Elaine: Window tinting is legal on all windows except the driver and passenger door glass. Most tint shops will still do the driver and passenger glass but you take full responsibility for any tickets you may incur. I have heard a doctor can give you a prescription if you have difficulties driving in bright sunlight but I wouldn’t try it unless you have a medical issue. If installed properly the defogger will work just fine. Drawbacks: Depending on the shade of tint you choose will depend on night vision, the other drawback is if you leave your rear window defroster on to long it will burn through the tint. I had bought a car with illegal tint on the driver and passenger window and I hated to drive it at night, I removed the tint and it made a big difference.


Dave: I went to buy a used car and when I got to the financing I found out the car didn’t have a warranty in fact they were selling it “As Is”. Now they did say they would sell me an extended warranty for $2,000 dollars. They said they would give me a 30 day warranty but if anything goes wrong I would be responsible for 50% of the repair bill. Does this seem right to you? I didn’t buy the car because I just didn’t feel good about the transaction. I do want the car, it is exactly what I want. I checked and it is still on the lot (It has been there for about a month and a half). Any suggestions would be deeply appreciated, keep up the great work! Jan.

Jan: It sounds to me like this used car dealer is running a very tight operation which means he is not making a lot of money on each vehicle he sells. For example, he buys a car from the auction for $8,000 smog and safety maybe $100 sells it for $9500 there is not much room for profit or unexpected repairs that he would have to incur himself. It is a tough time in the car business today so buyer beware, when you find a car you like have it checked out by your own technician. Always buy a used car with a good warranty. One more thing, $2,000 for an extended warranty seems normal today but the question to you is can you afford repairs that could cost $2,000 or more with out the warranty? Don’t forget the deductible, usually $50 to $100. Last but not least, if your heart tells you to walk on the deal…walk!

Dave: I just got an email on a new product that will allow you to burn water in your vehicle and gain 40% better fuel mileage. Have you heard of it and does it work? Joann.

Joann: I have seen a lot of products come across my desk and this one is no different. In fact I know of a guy who has it installed on his 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The truck seems to run smother but there is no significant fuel mileage increase. Water injection is not new technology; in fact it has been around for a long time. If not applied properly it could do damage to your engine and so far no one has perfected the system.


Hey Dave: I came out of the club the other night to find my battery dead, a friend of mine said we should bump start it, which we did and the car started right up. My question is did bump starting my car do any damage, the starter, engine drive train. I didn’t know you could do that with a stick shift vehicle. The other problem is my car still won’t start. It has been sitting for about a week now waiting for me to come up with the money to fix it, hope you have some good advice that is cheap. Signed, Walter.

Walter: Back in the day it was not uncommon to bump start a car that had a dead battery or a bad starter, if you had enough friends around you could go forever before having to fix you car. And as far as damage to your car, I have never heard of any damage done while bump starting except for the time I tried to bump start my buddy’s car and it got away from us and crashed into a fence, now we had damage! Most likely your battery is dead. Turn on the lights and turn on the ignition key and try to start the vehicle. If the lights dim out during starting it’s the battery. If they stay bright it may be the starter or ignition switch, and depending on the year of the vehicle it could be in the electronics. Good luck!


Hey Dave: You have mentioned the proper way to use jumper cables when starting a car with a dead battery. Could you go over the process again? I had my battery jump started and the tow truck driver hooked the red cable to the red cable, but he took the black cable and hooked it to the metal part around the radiator and then the car started. I thought you had to put the black cable on the black cable. No? Happy New Year and keep up the good work! Signed, Greg.

Greg: Either way works. All you’re doing is looking for a good ground. So you can clamp onto a piece of metal under the hood or just clamp onto the negative battery post. Don’t forget to remove any hand or wrist jewelry, and make sure the area you’re in is vented and you have a good heavy duty pair of jumper cables. Oh, and Michelin has just made a jumper cable set that makes no difference which post you hook up to. It’s dummy proof! Happy New Year to you as well!


Hey Dave: I’m sure this question has been asked a million times, but my wife and I just bought a new car that we found out later is required to burn 91 octane gasoline, and if we don’t use 91 octane fuel it could void our powertrain warranty. We have been burning 87 octane from Costco and haven’t seen any difference in performance other than fuel mileage. What gives? Can they really void my warranty? Signed, Bill.

Bill: As long as you’re burning 91 octane from Costco then you should be ok, although your mileage may suffer. Yes, a manufacturer can void your warranty if you don’t follow the warranty and a component is damaged and they can prove it was negligence on your part.

Categories: KUSI