• Aug 8, 2012
Lauren Fix is the Car Coach, and answers your questions about buying your new or used vehicle, as well as car care.

Dear Car Coach:

What is the deal on rotating tires? How often should I do this?

Moving your sneakers around (otherwise known as rotating your tires) is critical to the life of your tires. Tires are getting more expensive and to get the most value and mileage from your tires rotating them is important. In addition, the proper tire pressure can give the best handling, braking, ride and tire life.

You can do it on your own if you own jack stands and a good hydraulic jack. For a minimal fee, however, a technician at a garage or quick-lube joint can do this and it will extend the lives of your tires. Remember: installed tires can easily set you back $100 each. It's important that you get your money's worth. Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles! There are many different ways to rotate your tires, so in order to get it correct for your specific vehicle, rotate your tires according to your owner's manual.

Dear Car Coach:

Is there a reasonable way for me to remove the seats from my car so I can seriously detail it on the inside?

This can be a major project, and I have heard of people with minivans trying to do it because of all the gunk and garbage that can get into the car. Removing the seats is more than just removing four bolts as was the case in older cars. Many new vehicles have part of the computer system under the seats. In addition, in the air bag system maybe weight-sensitive, and removing seats will be a much larger project in order to prevent triggering the bags. If you do take this on, do not get any cleaning products on the computers or contacts as you could ring up a larger bill with the dealer. A good vacuum, and maybe a steam cleaner, plus automotive cleaning products may be the best choice. Ask for a gift-card for a local car detailer for Christmas.

Dear Car Coach:

I have a 2011 Audi A4. Do I risk voiding the warranty if I get maintenance done at my garage of choice rather than the dealer. I do not like the dealer near me.

Yes, you have a choice! While the dealer would love to have your business, it is your choice. Keep in mind if you have a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) or recall notice the dealer won't charge you and an independent repair shop will have to charge you if they can repair the problem. If your vehicle includes a maintenance package, such as the one BMW offers, and it's no charge for oil changes then going to the dealer makes sense. Vehicles like BMWs use synthetic oil that can get expensive. If you choose an independent repair facility, then look for an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) logo.

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