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Changing fluids on vehicles

Ask the Auto Doctor

Dear Doctor: I seldom drive my 2011 Chevy Camaro — maybe about 5,000 miles annually. When should I change the oil, and other fluids, such as antifreeze? Should I do these changes once or twice a year? Al Dear Al: It’s always a good idea to change the oil and filter twice a year and do an annual tire rotation. The antifreeze is good for five years, and a simple drain and fill will be fine. Make sure to use the correct coolant — not just a universal type. For brake and power steering fluid, use separate turkey basters and suction out as much fluid as possible and replace with new. Make sure to use separate suction basters and never mix fluids when using a baster or any other suction device. DEAR DOCTOR: The key fob for my 2008 Chevrolet Malibu doesn’t consistently lock and unlock the doors. I changed the battery to no avail. How do I fix it? Charlie Dear Charlie: Check for trouble fault codes in the body control module as an initial start. If there are no codes and you don’t have a second remote key fob, then the least expensive option is to replace the key fob with a new one from the dealer and have it programmed for your vehicle. Dear Doctor: I own a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee in excellent condition — garage kept, pristine interior, no rust. It has the 4.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine with 168,000 miles. The engine randomly shuts off while driving, which is very dangerous. I use premium fuel and an injector cleaner. My mechanic replaced the crankshaft position sensor and I replaced the ignition coil using parts from Advance Auto Parts. What should I do next? Ed Dear Ed: First, the crankshaft position sensor should be an OEM factory part, not an aftermarket part from a parts store. Secondly, the technician should use a professional computer scanner in Mode 6 to look deep into the computer history, not just recent history. Freeze-frame memory is also worth a try by the technician. Next, the technician should look on Identifix to check with other technicians who have experience with this problem on this vehicle. Dear Doctor: My 2008 Jeep Compass has an issue with the ABS, traction control, and ESC lights popping on and off intermittently. My mechanic says we can replace it with a used dashboard module, or get a new one (which is very expensive). Right now I’m living with it. Any ideas? Lonnie Dear Lonnie: I’d like to know the codes while the lights are illuminated on your the dash display. Your technician can get a better look at the system while the lights are on — so don’t shut off the engine when you bring the car into the shop. If the module is bad and it’s too expensive to fix, just know that the braking system will operate without the safety feature of the ABS, as well as the electronic stability control feature. In Boston I see a lot of these Jeeps with the dash lights on. The usual module repair cost averages from $175 to $250. Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician. E-mail questions for publication to info@motormatters.biz Mail questions with SASE to: Motor Matters, PO Box 3305, Wilmington, DE 19804