Why did the battery to a 2018 Honda Accord die?
DEAR DOCTOR: When I parked my 2018 Honda Accord and returned to start it, everything was completely dead. The only thing that showed any life at all was the blinking push start / stop button, yet pressing the button failed to start the car. After the battery was boosted, the car immediately started and everything returned to normal. No warning symbols appeared on the dash, and the problem has not occurred again since then. I hesitate to bring it in to Honda since it seems to have been a singular event and the car has had no other problems. Do you have any ideas on what happened, why it happened and what do you suggest I do now?
DEAR BRUCE: There is no reason not to bring the car to the dealer, as it’s under warranty. They will run a check of the battery and charging system to make sure nothing is wrong with it. For the battery to go dead as you described means something must have been bringing the battery voltage down low enough to have prevented the starter from cranking the engine over, or the connection at the battery was poor.
DEAR DOCTOR: I changed the oil at 3,500 miles on my 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, which, I’m told, had a “synthetic blend” of 5W30. But I changed the oil with “full synthetic” 5W30 and changed the computer reminder to go off at 5,500 miles. There are no indications in the owner’s manual that states what type of oil the schedule is based on. Can you confirm what type of oil this vehicle uses — and whether 5,500 miles is a good maintenance schedule for oil changes when using full synthetic?
DEAR ALAN: Yes, I agree with the 5,500-mile interval change using full-synthetic oil, which has multiple advantages over other oils. The owner’s manual should have the oil type and internals, or you can request this information from your new car dealership service manager. It will not indicate or recommend the change interval for full-synthetic oil. Note: You should do the first tire rotation at the first oil change.
DEAR DOCTOR: We own three all-wheel-drive vehicles: 2006 BMW X3 with 92,000 miles; 2015 Lexus GS 350 with 72,000 miles; 2016 Lexus RX 350 with 32,000 miles. At what time interval / mileage should the various fluids be changed?
DEAR NICK: Fluid change intervals are recommended by each auto manufacturer and can be found in the owner’s manual. All fluids break down over time. Brake fluid attracts moisture and can cause rust in the hydraulic system. Automatic transmission fluid will lose its friction capability and change color, cause poor shifting and slippage, as well as contaminate valves and passageways. Some readers will disagree with my recommendations, however, fluids are the lifeblood of the vehicle: Oil changes for full-synthetic oil twice per year, and synthetic blend oil four times per year. Change automatic transmission fluid at 35,000 to 40,000 miles for every two years. Evacuate brake fluid and power steering fluid from the reservoir every two years. Drain and refill coolant at four to five years. Use only factory fluids including coolant, transmission fluid, and even transfer case fluid on AWD vehicles that gets changed at the same time as transmission fluid.