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Motormouth: Cleaning a steering wheel

Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Q: I hate sticky fingers – especially when my leather covered steering wheel becomes sticky. During the pandemic I discovered that disinfecting wipes did an excellent job of totally removing stickiness with no apparent residue left over. Unfortunately, I have developed an allergic reaction to the wipes – even when cleaning my steering wheel with rubber gloves on! Using soap and water leaves its own unpleasant sticky residue on the wheel. Any suggestions?

W.B.G., Pleasant Hill, California

A: I suggest mixing a few drops of dishwashing detergent such as Dawn with a cup of water. Dip and then wring out a rag and gently dab or wipe the sticky areas. I also like Lexol leather cleaner, but why buy a whole bottle? Allow the wheel to dry. Apply a leather conditioner and wipe off excess.

Q: I have a 2017 Honda Civic sport touring. The tire pressure light goes on every time I’m on the expressway. The mechanic can’t find anything wrong. I even purchased new tires hoping this would fix the problem. It didn’t. Is this just something I have to live with?

B.B., Palos Heights, Illinois

A: Your Honda has an indirect tire pressure warning system instead of pressure sensors inside the tires. As long as the rotational speed of each wheel is the same, you’re good. But if one tire rotates faster (lower pressure, thus smaller diameter), the warning light is triggered. Try recalibrating your TPMS system. The simple instructions are in your owner’s manual.

Q: When I watch new car TV commercials, I have noticed they often have some number where the license plate would be. It is always painted the same color as the body and very difficult to even see. Having been a military intelligence officer (please no comments about that being an oxymoron) is there some hidden cryptic message being transmitted?

 

R.M., The Villages, Florida

A: I would like to answer your question, but I would have to kill you. The car would look weird without a license plate, but the ad obscures the characters so it does not distract from the beauty of the automobile. This answer is for your eyes only.

Q: I have wondered for years about the value of fuel injector cleaners that are sold to be added to the vehicle’s fuel tank. I took my vehicle for service to a local mechanic and as a normal action they put a fuel injector cleaner in the gas tank during an oil change. I had always believed they were just a scam to induce consumers to spend more money. Are these products worthwhile, how often should they be used and are there any that are particularly effective and some that are to be avoided?

J.B., Macomb, Illinois

A: I like to run some white vinegar through my coffee maker every three months or so. I also add a bottle of Techron to my gas tank every quarter. I take great care not to confuse them with one another. I also use Top Tier gasolines to maintain cleanliness. For a list of Top Tier brands go to www.toptiergas.com/licensed-brands/. I won’t attempt to list products to be avoided.

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