Ask Pete

Warranty No-No

Pete Candela is a AAA ASE-certified auto expert with over 30 years' experience

By Pete Candela


Pete, my car air is running okay, but there is no longer any of the moisture water runoff from the air conditioning under the car, and the seat on the passenger side near the door gets wet when the air is running. Do you know what is causing this?

–Jim M.


Jim, more than likely the drain for the evaporator core is clogged with debris. In most cases, it is a very easy fix, perhaps as simple as blowing compressed air back through the drain tube/hole. In more severe situations, the evaporator case requires removal for a more extensive cleaning. The clog is usually caused by leaves and such, and typically occurs when the car is routinely parked under trees. I would ask your place of repair to try to run some compressed air back through, and you should be good to go. If your carpeting and underlayment were allowed to stay wet for a long period of time, mildew can collect. If it did, try peeling back the carpet and padding, and spray the back of the carpet and underlayment with a solution of bleach and water (70 percent water to 30 percent bleach).


Pete, my SUV is only three years old, with less than 20,000 miles on it, and my service guy says I need new tires. They are wearing straight across, but are down to the wear indicators. Shouldn't I get more than 20,000 miles out of a set of tires?

–Chris C.


Chris, I am actually in the same boat! My experience is that the manufacturer used a soft compound tire as original equipment, and while the ride is great, the wear factor leaves much to be desired. Also, because my tire and wheel package was an upgrade, there are few replacement tires available in that size. These are some of the "minor" details that would have been great to know BEFORE I purchased the vehicle, rather than after I purchased it.


Pete, my neighbor and I were talking about cars and maintenance, and he told me that his car doesn't have a dipstick to check his oil; he just presses a button on his dash and the information center tells him if the level is okay. Is he pulling my leg?

–Tom S.


Tom, depending on the year, make and model of his car, he may very well be telling you the truth! There are several vehicles out there that don't allow you to just pull the dipstick to look at the oil or transmission fluid levels. These vehicles are equipped with a driver information system that provides you with this information. Otherwise, your technician will have to interface with the vehicle's onboard computer to determine the fluid levels.


Pete, I just bought a new car and my dealer is telling me that I have to bring it back to them for maintenance every 3,000 miles or else the warranty is void. Does this sound right to you?

–Carolyn S.


Carolyn, it sounds like your dealer may be using some strong-arm tactics to get you to come back to them for service. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 prohibits a dealer/manufacturer from withholding warranty repairs regardless of who services the vehicle. You didn't mention what type of vehicle you purchased, but many manufacturers' maintenance intervals are around 7,500 miles. The owner's manual should always be your guide to proper vehicle maintenance.


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