Skip to main content

I would like to know how to make windshield washer fluid, because it is expensive to buy from stores. There must be a simpler, cheaper method to do so. – Richie

There are several ways to do this, most involving a small quantity of dish detergent and water, some with vinegar added. It is also imperative to prevent freezing, so in winter, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol or methanol are added. Try a few tests to see if the soap you choose leaves a film and ruins vision before making too big a batch. Personally, I watch for sales and stock up on the pre-made stuff – not much more expensive than the above, and a whole lot easier.

Rust on brakes

Story continues below advertisement

I live by the water and I do not have a garage. My brakes need to be replaced almost yearly because of corrosion. Is there any product I could use to slow the rust? – Lyle

No. Brake rotors are commonly made of cast iron, which is subject to rust from the moment they are produced. I have seen brand-new rotors on $150,000 cars with a coat of rust on them within 24 hours of getting off the boat after landing in Canada. You can't spray anything on the surface, as this will greatly reduce the friction created by the pads gripping the rotor when the brakes are applied. The only cure would be to switch to carbon fibre brakes which would cost tens of thousands of dollars. If you have to change brakes annually, you are obviously not using the vehicle often. The best cure is frequent use and light application of the brakes to scrape off that fine coating on the surface of the rotor. If allowed to go to work for more than a few weeks, rust will work deeper into the metal and getting down to a clean surface requires turning them on a lathe, removing some of the metal. There is a limit to how much and how often this can be done.

Dealer or owner's manual, who to believe?

I own a 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS Touring with the two-litre engine with automatic transmission. The dealer tells me that I need to change the oil every 6,000 km or three months, which ever comes first. I asked about switching to synthetic oil and got the same response. They say it is because I live in a harsh climate in Fort Nelson, B.C. – Mike

Manufacturer recommendations in the owner's manual take precedence over the dealer's advice. The manufacturer designed, developed and tested the engine and knows what lubricants and oil change frequency is advisable. It is also the one on the hook for warranty costs if the recommendations are followed and the engine fails. The manual will list two service intervals, one for normal use and one for severe or similarly-named use. Follow the latter and you are covered. Unless the manufacturer advises switching to synthetic and changes the service interval accordingly, it is a waste of money.

Alfa Romeo in Newfoundland

I live in Newfoundland: if I bought an Alfa Romeo, where could I get it serviced? – John

Story continues below advertisement

The obvious question is where you bought it – but since there are no Alfas for sale – yet – in Canada. I suggest you find a Chrysler/Fiat dealer. At least that would give you a chance at some parts as Fiat and Alfa are under the same parental umbrella and share many common mechanicals. The Alfa brand is returning to Canada later this year at some Chrysler/Ram/Dodge dealers.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Add us to your circles

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies