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Automania/Repair & Maintenance
AUTO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR WEEK 40 YEAR 2000
by Bob Hagin
Q. I have a question you might not want to touch with a 10-foot pole. The 2000 model car I have uses Dex-Cool and the owner's manual recommends changing it every five years or at 150,000 miles. I have heard that there have been problems with head gaskets and radiators when following these recommendations. The vehicle I have uses a cast iron head instead of aluminum. Perhaps it would be better to stay with the 2-year or 24,000 mile change instead. I notice at 6000 miles some discoloration is occurring in the coolant reservoir tank.
A. Dex-Cool is an ethylene-glycol antifreeze with a non-silicate, anticorrosive chemical package. It's a Texaco/Havoline product developed in conjunction with General Motors and became the original antifreeze installed in most GM vehicles from 1996 on. It's orange in color and according to GM, it can't be mixed with other antifreeze coolants that are usually green in color. Texaco says this isn't so, however. The average car goes around 13,000 miles each year so it would take almost 11 years to reach the 150,000 mile mark. Five years would clock up approximately 65,000 miles. Most GM "techies" feel that three years would yield best results, especially in aluminum engines. Even though your block and head are iron, the water pump is no doubt aluminum alloy. If you have doubts about the condition of the Dex-Cool in your vehicle, have it tested by a radiator shop for contamination.
Q. I have a 1999 Dodge Dakota Club Cab that I bought second-hand from a private party. It has a V6 engine and an automatic transmission. At this time it has a little over 50,000 miles on the odometer. I recently moved from Southern California to Santa Fe New Mexico and brought the truck with me, of course. I wanted to take advantage of the availability of winter sports here and decided to buy a set of chains for my truck. I looked up the use of tire chains in my owner's manual and found that it states that I shouldn't install snow chains on tires that are larger than P215/75R15. My truck has P225/65R15 tires which i have since found out are part of a special appearance package that came on the SLT model like mine. I called a dealer and was told that they didn't know much about a truck that "old" but if it was in the owner's manual, it would be wise to abide by it. The person that answered my phone call at the Chrysler customer service office told me that the special package must have been ordered by the original dealer and that it was, in effect, his problem. How can I resolve this problem?
A. It's a hard pill to swallow but your only out is to install a pair of the smaller tires on your truck if it's still covered by a warrenty. I don't know what problem would be caused by using chains on the P225/75R15 tires but it might cause rubbing on suspension or body parts. With the Chrysler factory, I've found that if it can find a way to avoid a warrenty claim, it will and has allowed very few, if any, "good will" adjustments.
A. Our Ford Crown Victoria is a 1995 model and we bought it from another couple in our retirement community who stopped driving. It has very few miles, around 11,000. I don't drive very much myself and leave that to my husband. The only thing that bothers me is a slight squeal that comes from the rear when he applies the brakes lightly. He is hard of hearing and says it's my imagination.
A. There's a squeak that comes from some Ford Crown Victorias, Lincoln Town Cars and Mercury Grand Marquis of your year. The problem is solved by replacing the rear brake pad with a different type that is available from Ford.
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