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Motormouth: What's up with fuel filter?

Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Q: I have a 2011 Mazda Tribute and wanted to change the fuel filter. The manual states that it is in the gas tank and does not need to be changed. I find this strange, so I asked my local mechanic if he knew about this. He looked up gas filters for that model at his supply store and it shows one. I told him what the manual stated, but he said he believed that it does have a replaceable filter. Do you know what is going on?

E.D., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

A: The filter on the fuel pump pickup pipe in the tank is all that most cars have today. But your Tribute has a second, external filter located near the fuel tank. It is replaceable, but I have not heard of any getting clogged. (Maybe I should have my hearing tested for wax buildup.)

Q: I have a 2003 Jeep Liberty with 142,000 miles that is in very good condition. I have not been able to locate a squeaking sound that I think is coming from rear suspension. I have replaced all the shocks, struts, springs, and upper and lower spring isolators on the rear shocks. Noise went away for a while but is back. I was thinking about lubricating the control/suspension arms. What lubricant would you recommend? Do you have any other suggestions?

J.M., Plantation, Fla.

A: Squeaks and rattles often get the sunshine treatment. (They leave the vehicle outside until you return.) I suggest spraying all the rubber parts with silicone lube and the metal parts with oil or a penetrating oil. Start with one or the other to whittle down the source of the noise. My hunch is a rubber part.

Q: My son who lives in Chicago has a 2013 Hyundai Tucson that has been hit by thieves two times who have stolen the catalytic converter. Fortunately, the insurance company has paid both claims, less a $100 deductible. The garage mechanics have indicated there isn't anything they can do to inhibit or stop future thefts. So far, the insurance company has indicated they are not going to drop his coverage. Do you have any suggestions? Is this a unique problem to Hyundai vehicles?

B.F., Barrington, Ill.

A: SUVs, like the Tucson, are easy for the thief to slide beneath. Some bad guys even use creepers to make the job easier. There are aftermarket anti-theft devices that make it harder for the thief who will then pick an easier target. Unscrupulous scrap dealers buy the cats for the precious metals (platinum, rhodium, palladium) inside. Incidentally, Prius converters are coveted since they are larger than most others.

 

Q: I purchased a 2017 Nissan Rouge Sport AWD SL in August 2018. It had 8,233 miles on it. Today it has 10,508 miles -- that is 2,275 miles in a year. I went to the Nissan dealership for an oil change and was told to wait until I put on 5,000 miles. As you see it will take me another couple of years to do that. When do you think I should have the oil changed?

B.E., Ellington, Conn.

A: It appears that you may be making short trips, just a few miles each time. If so, your engine, and its oil, may never get hot enough to cook off any water (condensation) in the crankcase. That needs to go. If this describes you, change the oil annually.

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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.

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