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Motormouth: Power window problem

By Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Business News

Q: I have a 2002 Buick Century Limited in excellent condition. I literally bought it two years ago from a little old lady who had only driven it 11,000 miles. It, however, has a vexing problem. The power windows only work occasionally. The rear ones will not go down, the passenger side window usually does, and the driver's window only seems to work when the temperature is 65 degrees or cooler outside. I replaced the arm rest switch panel and checked the fuses, but the same problem has persisted. Any ideas?

L.L., Beecher, Ill.

A: The problem may not be in the electrical system, at least not in the switches. Due to lack of use, the window lift mechanism (the regulator) may require more oomph than the motors can supply. When that happens, the motors can overheat and fail. Perhaps the motors are already damaged. If the motors demand too much current, circuit breakers open. In many cases, the circuit breakers will reset after resting a while as things cool.

Q: My wife's 2017 BMW coupe sits outside 24/7 in South Florida. Every two or three days we have to clean the inside of the windshield from what I believe to be outgassing. Is that the most likely cause? If so, how do you prevent outgassing from fogging the windshield?

R.H., Plantation, Fla.

A: Yes, it is most likely the cause. You could use one of the many interior protection products. Most are available as sprays or wipes. That may slow down the outgassing a bit. Another option is a dashboard cover. It is similar to the car's carpet, custom made for your vehicle, including cutouts for vents, sensors, speakers and other stuff.

Q: From my experience in fixing nail punctures in my shop, it was mostly rear tires that suffered. As the front tire runs over the horizontal nail, it flips up in the air just in time for the rear tire to "nail it."

J.B., West Cornwall, Conn.

A: You are one among the teeming masses who wrote in and described this phenomenon. It is one of those things I would like to view in slow motion.

 

Q: We've had lots of car thefts in our area lately, and we saw a magazine article that said keyless entry fobs can be hacked or compromised by crooks in pairs using a fairly simple device to pick up the signal from your fob while you're away from your car and then relaying it to their buddy who's standing next to your car, allowing that person to unlock the door. Does this mean keyless entry fobs are always transmitting a signal? The magazine article recommended buying a Faraday Cage/RFID blocking pouch to keep your fob in. Any thoughts or opinions?

P.B., Hudson, Wisc.

A: There are memes about bad guys using signal amplifiers to intercept the signal from your smart key fob to unlock your car and stealing your stuff. Keep your good stuff out of sight. There is a low energy signal continuously emitted. I do not think this is a major problem, but if you are the kind of guy who wears a tin foil hat, you may want to get a Faraday pouch in which to store your fob, (and perhaps a hat, too). It is essentially a metal mesh fabric that blocks electrical signals.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber's work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.

Send questions along with name and town to motormouth.tribune@gmail.com.

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