Q: I have a ‘97 Toyota Celica ST with 126,000 miles. When the car had around 57,000 miles, the dipstick showed it was down almost three quarts! I have had to add one quart of oil approximately every 700 miles. There is no indication of leakage in the driveway. I’ve been told that it’s burning the oil internally, and to address this would take mega bucks. A friend whose husband is an engineer put the fear in me, and told me that at some point my engine would just lose compression and that would be the end of it. None of the mechanics that have worked on the car seem overly concerned. What’s your take on this?
_ B.K., Cheltenham, Pa.
A: As we have stated before, all engines must use some oil or they would break. One quart every 700 miles is a bit excessive, but nothing like early engines that had a “total loss” lubrication system where all of the oil dripped onto the road. Keep adding oil as you are doing, but have a mechanic check the spark plugs once a year for signs of excessive oil ash. At that point, it may be time to trade it in.
Q: I have a 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that I have spent way too much money on trying to prevent the gas pump from shutting off almost instantly when I start filling it up. Had the fuel canister replaced, new vent valve, new fuel pump driver module and had all lines inspected. Can only get gas in at Sunoco pumps, other stations take forever. Have to run pump as slow as possible, and in the winter it’s tough. Any help?
_ J.J., Chicago
A: There is a check ball in the tank where the fuel hose connects. The ball gets stuck occasionally and needs to be poked a couple of times to free it up. Save the service tech some grief and run the tank almost to empty before your appointment so he does not get a shower when he removes the hose.
Q: Automobile manufacturers recommend no lube or anti-seize on lug nut and studs as it will likely result in the lug nuts being over-torqued (assuming someone uses a torque wrench to begin with). Yet if you don’t, the lug nuts will often seize with corrosion and later be under-torqued due to the rough surfaces. What is your recommendation?
_ G.G., La Grange, Ill.
A: Corrosion will not cause the lug nuts to get loose, or as you say, under-torqued. However, it will make them difficult to remove. Our recommendation also is to avoid any lube on lug nuts. That said, we know some folks who use anti-seize compound and then tighten the nuts to about 10 percent under the recommended torque value.
Q: Long ago I read an article about Atmosklear for moldy smelling vents. I checked Google and found a product by that name. Would you recommend it for moldy vents?
_ G.V., Downers Grove, Ill.
A: We were not familiar with the product, but checked it out. It sounds similar to Febreeze, which does not eliminate the source of the smell, but encapsulates the molecules so your nose can no longer detect them. You still inhale the odor-causing molecules. To fix the problem, not cover it up, a biocide should be applied by a professional.