New tires, headlight oxidation prevention, jumpstart boxes, charging cord woes
Q. I have a 2017 SS, 26,000 miles, with original equipment Goodyear Run-On-Flat tires. I have been shopping for a new set of tires and have looked at both Goodyear ROF and a Michelin summer tire. Although there is no spare tire and my main concern is that switching to the Michelin will change the handling characteristics of the car. Do you think that is a legitimate concern? Cost is not a problem as there is not much price difference.
A. When it comes to performance cars, the tires in many cases are designed for the car. The tire engineers work with the vehicle engineers to find a tire that enhances the characteristics of the car. That being said, in some cases, it could be a compromise. The best handling tire may not deliver the best ride. The best riding tire may not work well in wet weather. My first suggestion is if you are happy with the tires on your car replace them with the same tire. The similar Michelin tires are very good but after doing a little research it appears that they have a stiffer ride than the Goodyear tires your Camaro came with.
Q. What is the best product to use on my three-year-old car’s headlights to prevent oxidation. I tend to keep my vehicles for a long time and my last car, an 11-year old, had oxidation so bad the headlights were really dim. I’d like to get ahead of the problem but there are so many products I don’t know what to buy.
A. There are two ways to approach this problem. The first method is to cover the headlights with a specialized film. This film helps prevent yellowing due to ultra violet light and also protects against impacts from sand, stones and other debris. The type I’m most familiar with is from XPEL, it is a DIY project but can be a bit tricky and if you are not handy there are shops that install this type of product. The other method is to use a spray on product. There are many on the market, Meguiars (the wax company) has a spray product that is easy to apply. Like most of the spray or wipe on products they need to be renewed periodically.
Q. I recently heard that there are new and improved car jump start boxes on the market that are a lot smaller and lighter than the old type. I guess they use lithium-ion batteries. I went online to shop for one, but I didn’t recognize any of the brands. Do you know what type AAA uses?
A. Here at AAA, our road service technicians use a more conventional rechargeable jump-pack. The professional jump-packs have more robust cables and the battery is serviceable/replaceable. In my personal vehicles, I have NUCO Li-Ion jump-packs and found them to do the job when needed. Unlike jumper-cables you do need to check them periodically to keep them fully charged. Last week a company sent me a JumpStart jumper/flashlight/power bank (JumpSmart). The day I received it one of my co-workers had a dead battery. This device looks like an oversized flashlight with plug-in cables. I attached it to her “dead” car and it fired right up.
Q. We have a 2017 CMAX and the charging cord is kinking up terribly and we can’t straighten it out like we used to. As a result of all the twists, it’s a lot shorter than before. Do you have any advice on how we should handle this with our Ford Dealer? It might possibly be a fire hazard too. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.
A: I would first see if you can get the cord to straighten out. Bring the cord inside where it is warm so the cord will be more flexible or now that the weather is wormer leave it out in the sun. After the cord has warmed up, lay it out on the floor and see if you can “walk” out the kinks. If this doesn’t work, I would call Ford customer service and ask about a replacement.
John Paul is AAA’s Car Doctor. He is an automotive expert who has been writing and talking about cars for more than 30 years. He also hosts the Car Doctor radio program on WROL radio in Boston. Email John at jpaul [at] aaanortheast.com.