Q Have you heard of when GM will begin replacing recalled batteries in Chevrolet Bolts? They announced the recall about 10 months ago.
A. I was on the phone a few weeks ago and was told that GM had a fix for the battery issue and would update/replace the batteries as they become available. Also in December, a software update was released to minimize battery issues that can come from overcharging. For the latest information, go to www.chevrolet.com/electric/bolt-recall
Q I recently retired and haven’t driven my 2014 Ford Flex as much as I used to. In fact, it only has 40,000 miles on it. Should I switch to synthetic oil at my next oil change? I plan to do a road trip in the near future. I start it at least once a month, and every time I do it says it needs an oil change.
A. Chances are your Ford Flex uses Motorcraft 5w-20 semi-synthetic oil. Changing to a full synthetic oil will not cause any problems and can add an extra layer of protection to the engine. Starting the engine once a month and letting it run is not a good idea. You and your car better drive the car every two weeks for about 30 minutes. This will help keep the battery fully charged, remove any rust that has built up on the brakes, and “exercise” the moving parts of the vehicle. Before taking long road trips, have a trusted repair shop check the car for potential problems that might arise on a long trip.
Q I have a 2016 Subaru Crosstrek and had my service tech change the gear oil. The person on duty said it was not necessary as it is a lifetime liquid. Is it true?
A. The service person is correct. There are periodic fluid checks but no specific change interval. The only time this might vary is if the car regularly tows a trailer or is used as a delivery vehicle or Uber/Lyft.
Q Recently while in Florida I saw a car that when the brakes were applied the brake lights flashed three times and then went solid while the driver’s foot was on the brake. I thought it was a great way to get the attention of drivers behind you. I was wondering if you know what brand of car has this feature and if the switch that provides this flashing light is available to install on a 2021 GMC Canyon.
A. The flashing brake light is a kit that can be ordered online, but is technically illegal in the United States. The system is used in Europe and. from what I’ve read. has been pilot tested in the United States on certain Mercedes models. Currently, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require brake lights to be on continuously when the brakes are applied. You may have seen this setup on a Florida registered car as there is no annual vehicle inspection.
Q I have a 2017 Toyota Avalon with 8,500 miles. I’ve done three oil changes, last in 2021 at 5,000 miles. The car is only used in town and is parked. Should I change the oil, and if so, how often if I switch to synthetic oil?
A. Conventional or synthetic oil should be changed at least once a year. Driving short distances can still contaminate engine oil, and changing it every year and checking the vital fluid once a year is money well spent.
John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Automotive Physician. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is an ASE Certified Master Technician. Email your question to [email protected]. Listen to Car Doctor on the radio at 10am every Saturday on 104.9 FM or online at northshore1049.com.
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